ArmInfo.The legislative initiative of the Central Bank of Armenia on the formationof a Centralized Register of Bank Accounts of Individuals will allow to reduce operating costs when the competent (authorized) bodies apply for data. On June 9, Deputy Head of the Central Bank of Armenia Nerses Yeritsyan stated this at the sitting of the Standing Committee of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia on Budgetary and Financial-Credit Issues, during which the amendments to the law "On the Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia" were approved.
Let us remind that earlier Yeritsyan, presenting this legislative initiative in the parliament, noted that the necessity of introducing such a register proceeds from the global standards of combating money laundering and financing of terrorism. In the future, these changes, according to him, will allow developing innovative ideas related to the automation of bank accounts of citizens, the introduction of electronic money, etc. At the same time, Yeritsyan noted that the register does not contain information about the account balance or current flows of funds. He explained that the effectiveness lies in the fact that during various analyzes and communications with law enforcement agencies, not all accounts or banks will be questioned, but only those that are the subject of the dispute will be selectively collected.
"The draft law underwent a comprehensive discussion. During the period from the first to the second reading, only one proposal was received - from the Ministry of Justice and that was of a technical nature," Nerses Yeritsyan stated during the discussion today.
The deputy head touched upon the concern of representatives of the expert community that the bill violates the foundations of the institution of banking secrecy. This data, as he explained, at this stage is already available to a certain circle of persons within the framework of the Law on Bank Secrecy. "By creating a registry, we will only reduce operating costs in the course of these functions," he explained. In particular, if it is necessary to clarify certain data, for example, at the request of law enforcement agencies, the request will not be sent to 17 commercial banks operating in Armenia, but will "turn" directly to the Register. In addition, as the Deputy Chairman of the CBA emphasized, the law is by no means about providing data to the tax authority, which is protected by the same law "On Bank Secrecy".
Another goal of the legislative initiative, according to Yeritsyan, is the formation of appropriate infrastructures for the further development of the online services sector. Yeritsyan once again stressed that the initiative is important from the point of view of innovation. In the future, the Register will contribute to the implementation of the idea of forming a national identification system, within the framework of which every citizen will have an account. In this context, he noted that a centralized register would allow offering citizens various combined services, including outside the country.
As the representative of the Central Bank explained, information on opening a current account of an individual will automatically enter the system. As for the existing accounts, then, according to him, the authors of the project "with the statute of limitations" have not yet been determined, but, perhaps, the system will cover a 5-year period.
It should be reminded that the initiative of the Central Bank of Armenia related to the creation of the Centralized Register of Bank Accounts is connected with the obligations of Armenia within the framework of the EU-Armenia Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which entered into force last month. It concerns the so-called "Fifth AML Directive (Anti-Money Laundering Directive)" of the European Union, which entered into force on January 10, 2020. This is a new measure to prevent attempts to launder money, including through the market of cryptocurrency services, exchange offices and exchanges. According to some experts, this directive could scare off money laundering investors in developing countries. But on the other hand, from the point of view of the state of the economies and the investment environment, third countries entering into associative relations with the EU still need additional, albeit not entirely "legal", development incentives.