Business 30 August 2018Gerald Fenech
Russia goes after crypto wallets of criminal suspects
It’s about to be harder of criminal suspects in Russia to keep hold of their cryptocurrency holdings. According to reports, Rosfinmonitoring, a government agency responsible for monitoring and preventing financial crimes in Russia, is planning on expanding its internal systems to take cryptocurrencies into account.
The Russian government agency is reportedly increasing its ability to monitor several alternative types of transactions and these will include those made with cryptocurrencies. According to BBC, Rosfinmonitoring will be implementing an improved system developed by the Moscow Institute for Security and Information Analysis (SPI), which allows for data about crypto wallets which are lined to certain individuals. This system will cost around 195 million rubles (US$2.8 million).
Public documents, published via an electronic auction system for Russian agencies’ purchases, showed that Rosfinmonitoring will get its hands on the system before the end of 2018.
The SPI, according to the British news outlet, is known for creating law enforcement-focused tools. However, not much is known about Rosfinmonitoring’s new initiative. When pressed for an answer, representatives of the Russian agency said information about the system is classified.
Currently, an estimated 8,600 individuals have been included in Russia’s blacklist in connection with terrorism charges. The list has 485 entries, most of which were identified as religious organizations.
Rosfinmonitoring’s new project didn’t come as a surprise given that Russia has been working, albeit slowly, towards regulating cryptocurrency-related activities in the country. In July, reports surfaced that legislators are considering the passage of a bill on digital financial assets, also known as cryptocurrencies, during the autumn session of the Duma. According to Anatoly Aksakov, chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on Financial Markets, the bill will not include separate taxation schemes for cryptocurrency owners. In effect, this means that mining and the circulation of cryptocurrencies will continue to be regulated under the Russian Tax Code. This also means that currencies will effectively be considered as assets.
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Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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