Russia Classifies Crypto-Related Theft as Criminal Offence

Wilfred Michael 

Wilfred Michael

News reporter

26 February 2019,
Russia Classifies Crypto-Related Theft as Criminal Offence

With the possibility of full crypto regulation in Russia looking certain, the country's Supreme Court has gone one step ahead to clarify a long-standing issue.

A Tuesday report by Russian legal news outlet, Pravo, confirmed that the Supreme Court decided to amend the existing Anti Money Laundering (AML) laws to include cryptocurrencies.

Supreme Court judge, Alexander Chervotkin said in the report that decision was easier to make given that cryptocurrencies were somewhat unpopular during the last time the AML laws were amended in 2015.

To accommodate the growing interest in the new payment tool, the court approved an amendment to classify any illicit use of cryptocurrencies in the country as a money laundering offence.

In simpler terms, any individual who steals cryptocurrencies and converts them to fiat or vice versa will be liable to the same punishment as anyone who launders money under Russian law.

The court ruling cited several cases where criminals used cryptocurrencies to hide stolen funds and hope that the new amendment serves as a check to convicting such individuals.

However, it reckoned that the court would first have to prove that an individual stole money before being trialled for such an offence. This is because the Russian law is yet to define cryptocurrencies via a legal framework and such individuals cannot be tried for misusing it.

Judge Alexander Chervotkin expressed confidence that the new amendments would be enough as the Federation seeks compliance with the directive issued by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) last year. reported in December that the FATF in collaboration with G20 member nations decided to enforce existing AML laws on the usage of cryptocurrencies.

The FATF is set to carry out an inspection in March to find out whether Russia has implemented the directives and the latest amendment is undoubtedly a way to achieve such compliance. Another European country, Cyprus was the last to implement the AML directive.


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