Russia’s Ministry of Finance is proposing a set of amendments to the Criminal Code, which envisage tougher penalties for those engaged in the promotion and/or selling of crypto currencies.
A source at the Ministry told “Interfax” that the Criminal Code will be amended with a section called “Turnover of money substitutes”. It is useful to recall that the Bank of Russia and the Russian authorities in general treat all sort of virtual currencies, including Bitcoin, as money substitutes or surrogates.
Under the proposals, emitting, purchasing and selling of money substitutes will trigger:
- a fine of up to RUB 500,000;
- compulsory community service of up to 480 hours;
- or corrective labor of up to 2 years.
The maximum penalties will be applied for organized forms of dealing with money surrogates.
In addition, the Ministry of Finance has prepared amendments to the Federal Law “On Information, Information Technologies, and Information Protection” that will limit access to websites that enable emitting and operations with money surrogates. The Bank of Russia will decide which websites will be subject to these punitive measures.
The Ministry of Finance keeps insisting that the use of crypto currencies is associated with high risks of money laundering.
At the same time, the Bank of Russia seems to be warming up to the idea of using crypto technologies. It even confirmed last week that there is special working group at the bank examining the benefits of the use of technologies like blockchain.