Estonia’s Supreme Court began a public hearing on the case of Dutchman Otto de Voogd, a Bitcoin entrepreneur, who is facing fines upward of €32,000 and jail time for not disclosing information about his Bitcoin associated clients.
In a case that began 2 years ago, Voogd was repeatedly questioned for data in regards to his business by Estonian officials and was forced to shut his cryptocurrency trading site BTC.ee down from doing business. Voogd has lodged a complaint with the Estonian Supreme Court and has crowdsourced his trial so that a precedent on Bitcoin related businesses can be established in Estonia.
In a Facebook post published by Voogd on November 30, 2015, he asserts hope that this trial might actually open a path for Estonia and the European Union at large to come to a consensus on some bigger issues related to Bitcoin.
Estonia has been discussed in the last few years in regards to it’s business friendliness. They taken bold steps to welcome businesses to come and operate within the borders of Estonia through programs like e-residency or Nasdaq’s blockchain experiment.
The lawyer for Voogd, Priit Lyatt commented:
“The office for Money Laundering considers that my client is a financial institution, as he bought and sold cryptocurrency called” Bitcoin. ” We believe that the exchange Bitcoins can not be trafficking in alternative means of payment according to the law on money laundering, so we can not be compared with the bank or financial institution.”
Four different Estonian government and regulatory associations have been involved with the trail thus far including The Estonian Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance, the Interior Ministry and the Estonian Financial Supervision Authority.
“Here again the question arises – is different whether bitcoin than any other e-currency, in our opinion, is no different, and it is not necessary to separate regulations, but, of course, the current law is necessary to modernize?” Said Bureau Laundering Department Money Police and Border Guard Arnold Tenusaar.
In the event that the current law must be changed or amended in any way in light of this trial and complaint by Voogd, the Estonian Supreme Court will work with the European Union in order to assure that the Estonian policy towards Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is in line with the rest of the EU. The court’s decision on Voogd’s lodged complaint is expected to be announced on April 6, 2016.
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