Mexico: Amendment to Anti-Money Laundering Law Pertaining to Cryptocurrencies

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(May 22, 2018) Mexico’s Federal Law for the Prevention and Identification of Transactions with Resources of Illicit Origin (commonly referred to as the Anti-Money Laundering Law) was amended in March 2018 in order to regulate transactions with “virtual assets”—that is, cryptocurrencies. (Ley Federal para la Prevención e Identificación de Operaciones con Recursos de Procedencia Ilícita [Federal Law for the Prevention and Identification of Transactions with Resources of Illicit Origin] art. 17(XVI), Nota de vigencia, DIARIO OFICIAL DE LA FEDERACIÓN [D.O.F], Oct. 17, 2012, as amended through March 2018, Mexico’s House of Representatives website.)

This law defines virtual assets as representations of value electronically registered and utilized by the public as a means of payment for all types of legal transactions, which may be transferred only electronically. It also provides that Mexico’s legal currency may not, under any circumstances, be considered a virtual asset. (Id.)

Providing services involving virtual assets is an activity classified by this Law as vulnerable to money laundering. Thus, providers of such services must report to the Mexican government relevant transactions that reach or exceed a particular amount (equivalent to approximately US$2,638 as of May 2018) starting in September 2019. (Id.)

Furthermore, providers of such services will have a number of additional duties, including

  • identifying their clients and verifying their identity through official identification documents, a copy of which must be kept by the provider;
  • asking the client for information on his or her occupation if a business relationship is established; and
  • keeping records pertaining to transactions and clients. (Id. arts. 17, 18.)

Regulations further detailing pertinent requirements for financial companies are to be published by August 2018. (Ley para Regular las Instituciones de Tecnología Financiera [Law to Regulate Financial Technology Companies] art. 58, DISPOSICION TRANSITORIA SEGUNDA, D.O.F, Mar. 9, 2018, available as originally enacted on Mexico’s House of Representatives website.)

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