Russia’s far-reaching control of cryptocurrency transactions appears to have a critical blind spot: There seems to be no penalty for criminals who use digital assets to conduct illegal transactions.
On Thursday the Ministry of Finance of Russia proposed new changes to the country’s cryptocurrency laws to clarify the rules on tax evasion. According to the proposed guidelines, Russians can present themselves Up to three years in prison for not reporting transactions of 45 million rubles ($ 583,000) or more at least twice in two years.
An earlier proposal from the ministry recommended three year prison sentence for anyone who has not reported transactions greater than 1 million rubles ($ 13,000 USD).
Citizens are also required to report wallet transactions and amounts greater than 600,000 rubles ($ 7,700) in a calendar year. Failure to show up on time could result in a fine of 50,000 rubles ($ 640).
Oddly enough, it is missing in the new guidelines It is the responsibility of the criminals who continue to use cryptocurrencies for illegal transactions.
Maria stankevich, Head of Business Development at Crypto Exchange EXMO, told Cointelegraph:
“We see no criminal liability for the black market for cryptocurrencies or the money changers in Moscow who are still processing large amounts of illegal crypto. Basically, the government tries to persecute citizens rather than imposing strict regulations on criminals in the market (as is the case in the UK, for example).
Mikhail Uspensky, Consultant to the Russia-based Taxology Law Firm, According to the ministry’s new guidelines, so-called “gray crypto exchanges” are also being ignored. They make up the majority of black market transactions.
“It was decided not to incur criminal liability for them and the main risks of criminal prosecution should be shifted to ordinary holders of crypto cartridges,” Uspensky told Russian news broadcaster RBC.
The action in Russia against holders of cryptocurrencies takes place at a time when Legislators are seriously considering the benefits of central bank digital currency (CBDC). The Bank of Russia is expanding efforts to understand CBDCs after the Covid-19 pandemic. this has had a destabilizing effect on monetary policy.