Posted on Wednesday September 1st, 2021 by Alex Dzhurynsky

Crypto licenses and impeccable reputation: changing practices

Recently, the Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) changed its administrative practice when issuing crypto licenses or changing the data of companies that are already licensed.

Among other things, features of impeccable business reputation are specified, which have to be followed during the operation of a company. Indicating common features (such as the absence of tax arrears, the absence of bankruptcy cases, cases of administrative misconduct, criminal proceedings with the participation of company officials), the regulator gives some explanations on how it understands an impeccable reputation.

The suspicion in the proceedings above itself indicates the absence of an impeccable reputation. That is, if a board member or a shareholder was charged with non-payment of taxes, or with a criminal offence, and even if he was later acquitted, then for the FIU the business reputation of such a person is considered to be faulty, and therefore the license will not be issued or may be revoked. In addition, even the late filing of annual reports can now be interpreted by the FIU as damaging the business reputation.

An important innovation is the increased attention of the FIU to nominee services. Very often, consulting companies provide the services of board members or AML officers, promising complete protection from state authorities. In fact, such persons can be listed in many other companies and such services do not imply real work. Therefore, those nominee board members or AML officers do not know anything about the company’s activities and sometimes even about the industry itself, do not perform real work, or do not have the skills and experience to do such work. The FIU can easily check this via the register, additional inquiries and interviews with such persons.

Therefore, in order to maintain a license, you should be especially careful when choosing board members and AML officers for your companies.