Putin: Russia must monitor increasing criminal use of digital currencies

Russia’s president wants the country’s law enforcement agencies to focus more on the digital currency industry, which he believes is being used increasingly by “criminal elements.” Vladimir Putin didn’t disclose the specifics but he believes that cross-border transfers has been one of the main sectors these criminals have targeted.

Previously, Bank of Russia has expressed interest in a digital ruble, but has snubbed private ruble-pegged stablecoins, taking after China in this regard. Putin, has been keen on ensuring Russians don’t use digital currencies for illegal purposes. In December, he signed into law an order requiring Russian public officials to report all their digital currency holdings.

In his latest directive, he has ordered greater vigilance by Russian authorities to focus their attention on illegal digital currency use. Putin was speaking at a board meeting at the General Prosecutor’s office.

He stated, “Criminal elements are using digital assets more and more often, and this what you should pay closer attention to, together with your colleagues from other law enforcement agencies, including Rosfinmonitoring.”

Rosfinmonitoring is Russia’s anti-money laundering watchdog.

“We should take additional measures to suppress illegal cross-border movement of digital financial assets,” he added.

Putin didn’t disclose any specifics on what digital currencies are being used in illegal transactions or the measures he expects Russian authorities to take. According to one digital currency expert, this isn’t the first time Putin has required Russian authorities to tighten their digital currency oversight.

Nikita Soshnikov, a director at Alfacash digital currency exchange, was quoted by Cointelegraph saying, “It is not the first time when the President asks law enforcement agencies and a Russian financial intelligence unit to pay special attention to crypto transactions in such a negative context. But it is unclear what is meant by “cross-border” crypto operations which are world-wide by their nature and how law enforcement measures could apply.”

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