Russia envisages maximum penalty of 7 years in jail for Bitcoin activities

Individuals and organizations engaged in Bitcoin-related activities in Russia face tougher penalties than originally envisaged, under plans drafted by the Ministry of Finance.

As per LeapRate’s earlier report, Russia’s Ministry of Finance is set to submit a bill with the nation’s parliament not later than June this year, with the document to contain a set of penalties for those engaged in Bitcoin activities like buying/selling the virtual currency.

The first versions of the document proposed maximum penalty of two years of corrective labor for those engaged in Bitcoin activities.

The latest amendments to the bill, drafted this month, introduce harsher sanctions. Interfax reports that the Ministry of Finance will be pushing for a maximum penalty of seven years of imprisonment. This penalty will apply to top managers of banks and financial services companies engaged in activities like Bitcoin mining, buying/selling, “issuing”.

The range of proposed penalties also includes a ban from assuming certain positions in the financial services industry, as well as fines of up to RUB 2.5 million.

The main concern of Russia’s Ministry of Finance is that virtual currencies can be used for money laundering and other forms of criminal activities.

Whereas the Bank of Russia has voiced similar concerns in the past, it is warming up to the use of blockchain technology and has formed a working group examining the benefits of such technologies.

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