BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union countries plan a crackdown on virtual currencies and anonymous payments made online and via pre-paid cards in a bid to tackle terrorism financing after the Paris attacks, a draft document seen by Reuters said.
EU interior and justice ministers will gather in Brussels on Friday for a crisis meeting called after the Paris carnage of last weekend.
They will urge the European Commission, the EU executive arm, to propose measures to “strengthen controls of non-banking payment methods such as electronic/anonymous payments and virtual currencies and transfers of gold, precious metals, by pre-paid cards,” draft conclusions of the meeting said.
Bitcoin is the most common virtual currency and is used as a vehicle for moving money around the world quickly and anonymously via the web without the need for third-party verification.
Electronic anonymous payments can be made also with pre-paid debit cards purchased in stores as gift cards.
EU ministers also plan “to curb more effectively the illicit trade in cultural goods,” the draft document said.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio)