500 crypto licenses have been canceled by Estonia’s financial authority following a $220 billion money-laundering scandal in the country involving Danske Bank.
This represents about 30 percent of the entire number of crypto-based licenses in the country and is coming as a measure Estonia’s government is taking to clamp down on illicit financial flows into the country.
The clampdown will sanitize the industry
Head of the Estonian Financial Intelligence Unity (FIU), Madis Reiman, stated that the crackdown was a pre-emptive strike to sanitize the crypto industry. He pointed out that, contrary to what people believe, the idea is not to dislodge the crypto industry. The authorities want to strengthen the regulatory procedures to secure people’s investment and prevent the repetition of such massive fraud.
He further stated that the risk of money laundering big one and Estonia’s government doesn’t want to take chances to live the crypto industry in the hands of fraudsters.
The FIU has always been serious about revoking the license of companies who could not start their operations after six months of receiving the license.
Reimand remarked that the rules are put in place to take care of important matters by allowing operations for firms who can abide by the supervisory procedures.
The move will permit operations only for companies that can be subjected to Estonian supervision and coercive measures,” he said.
Europe’s biggest money-laundering scandal
This recent revoke of the license is coming after a massive $223 billion money-laundering fraud was committed involving Danske, the biggest lender in Denmark. Danske was accused of assisting in laundering the said amount via a small Estonian branch. The scandal has been termed the largest money-laundering scandal in Europe.
After the scandal, Estonian financial authorities have turned their eyes on cryptocurrency firm, which is considered a high-risk sector.
Before this recent development, the Estonian government has given a free hand to cryptocurrency companies as the country was among the first to liberalize crypto. It issued licenses to over 1,400 entities within 3 years. Now it seems the period when Estonia was safe haven for virtual currency companies is over with the current clampdown in the industry.