On Sunday, Bitcoin has hit the headlines in Russia once again, after reports surfaced that the Moscow’s Federal Security Service officials were trying to get a bribe of $1 million in Bitcoin.
On April 20, a scandal involving Moscow’s FSB officials and Erast Galumov, the ex-head of one of the country’s largest newspapers began to boil, and both sides are now under arrest.
According to the ongoing legal case, up to 15 officials of the Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) might have been involved in extortion of 65 million rubles ($1.02 million) from a media magnate in exchange for his freedom.
The suspect, the former general director of Izvestia, Erast Galumov, is allegedly arrested for money laundering of 43 million Russian rubles (670,000 US dollars). Law officials continue to gather evidence of Galumov’s involvement.
According to the Russian press, Moscow’s FSB security service officials, who took part in the investigation of the Galumov crime, used pseudonyms (via Telegram chat application) to threaten the Galumov family and extort a bribe of $1.02 million in Bitcoin cryptocurrency.
According to them, in exchange for Galumov’s freedom and security, the family had to transfer money exclusively in Bitcoins to a specific address.
One of the figures responsible for extortion, agent Kolbov, demanded a bribe under the name of Mikhail, also telling Galumov’s son that he should leave Russia, or else he will be locked just as his father.
Several bribes were paid in Bitcoin to Kolbov and his colleague, agent Sergei Belorusov, as part of a special operation.
The Moscow court is now deciding the fate of the agents, while Galumov will still have to prove his innocence, as his own legal battle continues.
Embarrassment adds fuel to the fire due to Russia’s increasingly erroneous attempts to control the use of cryptocurrency.
It seems that lawmakers are not able to understand the nature of digital currencies, and that reflects in their latest plans to clamp down on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency investments.
Russia has been trying to impose strict and rapid regulations on cryptocurrency for a long time, and it’s expected that new laws will come into force at the end of this year. Critics say the content of the crypto Bill remains too broad and can neither adequately describe the nature of the digital phenomenon nor control it.