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Russia’s Supreme Court recognizes cryptocurrencies as means of money laundering

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On Tuesday, February 26, the Supreme Court of Russia has changed its ruling on 2015 judicial practice that regulates money laundering and property acquired by criminals and introduced the concept of “cryptocurrency”, local news outlet RBK reports today.

Based on recommendations from the international Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering, FATF, the Russia’s Supreme Court judges have clarified that articles 174 and 174.1. of the Russian Criminal Code that defines criminal proceeds, should be extended to include the concept of cryptocurrency. The subject of a crime can be a monetary assets converted from virtual assets (cryptocurrency) acquired as a result of a crime, according to the ruling.

Funds, converted from virtual assets (cryptocurrencies) and acquired as a result of criminal activity, could be classed as a crime, the Supreme Court ruled.

FATF organization is planning to visit Russia in March and measure country’s effectiveness in fighting money-laundering

According to the Federal Financial Monitoring Service of the Russian Federation, the lack of legislative framework and state’s supervision over the supply and legal status of cryptocurrencies, is considered to be one of the main issues in Russia’s economy. Financial intelligence agency says that in recent years it has noticed an increased activity in “the use of cryptocurrencies for the sale of drugs and the subsequent laundering of criminal proceeds”.

In the document obtained by RBK, Rosfinmonitoring states that curently “the legal status of virtual assets is not defined”. The document also reveals that many law enforcement agencies have already identified multiple cases, where crimes were committed using cryptocurrency assets in settlements for drugs, and will be affected by the aforementioned article 174.1 of the Russian Criminal Code.