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EU Banking Regulators Propose Stringent Rules for Crypto Shareholders

EU regulators proposed bank-style rules on Friday that would subject shareholders holding over 10% stakes in crypto companies to scrutiny for any past convictions or sanctions. These rules, outlined in the upcoming Markets in Crypto Assets regulation (MiCA) of the European Union, set to be effective by December 2024, are aimed at ensuring that prospective crypto license holders demonstrate a clean reputation for their owners and executives.

The recent challenges faced by prominent figures in the crypto industry, such as Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX, Alex Mashinsky of Celsius, and Changpeng “CZ” Zhao of Binance, who are currently contending with U.S. charges related to customer deception and non-compliance with securities laws, underscore the need for such regulatory measures.

The proposed regulations also emphasize that shareholders and board members of crypto asset service providers must not have any previous convictions related to money laundering, terrorist financing, or other offenses that could tarnish their integrity. The European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), responsible for formulating banking and securities market laws in the EU, highlighted the requirement for maintaining a spotless reputation at all times.

Similar ownership restrictions have previously been implemented in the financial sector to prevent individuals like former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, previously convicted of tax fraud, from owning significant stakes in banks.

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