Russian Government Officials Banned from Holding Cryptocurrencies

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The Russian Ministry of Labor has informed officials from federal and local authorities that they are prohibited from owning cryptocurrency and that they must dispose any of their holdings.

The document published on the Ministry’s website on December 16, 2020 states that the directive aims to prevent corruption. The news was first reported by the Russian crypto news media Forklog.

Families of Government officials not allowed to hold cryptocurrency

The letter indicated that Russian Federation and local officials, including members of the Board of Directors of the Russian Bank and chairmen of government companies, as well as their spouses and minor children, cannot own cryptocurrency or digital assets issued outside the country.

The letter mentioned on the Digital Assets law, which came into force in January this year. The law includes a number of changes to other Russian laws, including changes prohibiting government officials from opening accounts with foreign banks and buying financial instruments from abroad. The list now also includes “digital assets and cryptocurrencies issued under foreign law”.

Government officials must now withdraw all digital assets before April 1, 2021. It’s not that strict yet. Officials are not required to report their rights to digital assets and other property in the 2020 Anti-Corruption Declaration, as this is the first year the new law comes into effect. In the absence of a public report, it is not clear how many government officials in Russia may own cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin not illegal in Russia

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are not illegal in Russia. The country’s digital assets law came into effect on January 1, treating cryptocurrencies as taxable property and regulating the issuance of centralized digital tokens in the country. President Vladimir Putin also signed an order requiring officials to report their cryptocurrency assets.

The Central Bank of Russia has also issued a policy that limits the amount of digital assets that unqualified Russian investors can acquire within a year to no more than 600,000 rubles (about $7,740). The rules for how Russians must report their cryptocurrency holdings for tax purposes are still being finalized.