Head of Investigative Committee Calls for Mandatory Identification of Cryptocurrency Users in Russia
Russians who use cryptocurrency should not be anonymous, the man who chairs Russia’s federal investigating authority has recently stated. The official leading efforts to fight corruption in the government called for additional regulations, including the introduction of mandatory identification for those who transact with digital coins.
Anti-Corruption Official Pushes for Rules to Mitigate Risks of Using Cryptocurrency for Illicit Purposes
Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, believes that people who use cryptocurrencies should not remain anonymous. The high-ranking official shared his opinion in an interview with the government-issued Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
“I have already noted that in connection with the adoption of the federal law ‘On Digital Financial Assets’ in July 2020, additional risks of using digital currency for criminal purposes may arise, in particular for financing terrorism and extremism,” Bastrykin, a former Deputy Prosecutor General of Russia, told the official newspaper. He elaborated:
Therefore, the circulation of digital currency requires further legal regulation — first of all, mandatory identification of users of such a currency is necessary.
The status of online platforms providing opportunities to buy and sell cryptocurrencies anonymously is yet to be determined as well, Bastrykin remarked. Websites offering crypto exchange services have had a lot of troubles with Russian regulators and judiciary in the past few years.
Digital coin trading is among a number of crypto-related activities that remains outside the scope of the current legislation on digital assets. A working group set up at the State Duma, the lower house of Russian parliament, is now preparing regulatory proposals to deal with the outstanding issues.
The Investigative Committee is Russia’s main federal investigating and anti-corruption authority, subordinate to the Russian president. It is responsible for combating corruption and conducting investigations into federal governmental bodies, local authorities, and law enforcement agencies.
In August, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree approving the country’s National Anti-Corruption Plan for 2021-2024. As part of the new strategy, the Russian head of state ordered several ministries and the central bank, to prepare inspections of officials who are obliged to disclose their digital asset holdings.
Speaking to RIA Novosti in December 2020, Alexander Bastrykin insisted that cryptocurrency should be recognized as property for the purposes of criminal law and procedures. He emphasized this is a necessary condition for investigating criminal cases in which digital currencies are involved. For example, those of bribe and embezzlement. In November 2021, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia proposed to define cryptocurrency as property in the country’s Criminal Code.
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Lubomir Tassev is a journalist from tech-savvy Eastern Europe who likes Hitchens’s quote: “Being a writer is what I am, rather than what I do.” Besides crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.