EU parliament approves new sanctions laws that also apply to crypto

Brussels: The European Parliament approved a new batch of rules to crack down on sanctions violations, including through crypto.

Parliamentarians representing the 27 member states of the European Union cast 543 votes in favor of the new rules, with 45 voting against and 27 abstentions. The new rules were prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and rising concerns that EU financial sanctions on Russia were being violated.

“We need this legislation because diverging national approaches have created weaknesses and loopholes, and it will allow for frozen assets to be confiscated,” Dutch lawmaker Sophie in ’t Veld, who’s in charge of shepherding the laws through Parliament, said in a press statement.

Although sanctions are adopted at the EU level, individual states are tasked with enforcing those rules – and everything from “definitions of sanction violation” and “associated penalties” can change from country to country, a press release on the plenary vote said.

The EU’s restrictive measures apply to a wide range of financial services, including providing “crypto-assets and wallets,” the adopted text said. Sanctions can involve freezing assets, including crypto.

“The new law sets consistent definitions for violations, including not freezing funds, not respecting travel bans or arms embargoes, transferring funds to persons subject to sanctions, or doing business with state-owned entities of countries under sanction,” the press release said.

The legislation must now be greenlighted by the Council, which gathers top government officials from member states before it can become law.