The Russian Finance Ministry has long taken a determined hardline stance against bitcoin and other digital currencies, deemed by the regulator as ‘surrogates’ of the ruble.
The Deputy Minister of Finance in Russia hopes that the draft law calling for the criminalization of bitcoin will be passed to the State Duma – the lower chamber of the Russian Parliament – before the end of the current session in August.
A recent report by Russian publication RIA Novosti, has revealed that the Russian Deputy Finance Minister, Alexei Moiseev, hopes that a law is crafted to introduce criminal liabilities to those who exchange bitcoins for rubles and vice versa.
Notably, Moiseev intends to see the bill pass through the Duma before the end of the current spring session, which comes to a close on August 6.
As reported by the publication, Moiseev is quoted as saying:
I hope that in a rather short period of time, we will be able to do this [pass the bill for a ban on bitcoin].
I think that will be able to bring in the bill before the end of the spring session. I do not know if we will be able to adopt [the bill] in its first reading.
The news comes following a recent report that confirmed that the Russian Finance Ministry is chalking up a proposal to ban the cryptocurrency.
The proposal for the ban is in its final version, having already been offered for public discussion and calls upon various articles in the Constitution of the Russian Federation that deems the Russian ruble as the only monetary unit permissible in the Russian Federation.
For instance, Article 75 states:
The monetary unit of the Russian Federation is the ruble. The Central Bank of the Russian Federation is the sole issuer of currency. The introduction and issuance of other currencies in the Russian Federation are prohibited.
The call for criminal liability, according to Moiseev, is because of the cryptocurrency’s alleged connection with terrorism financing & money laundering. Furthermore, bank executives and management from financial institutions are especially liable with higher fines and longer terms of imprisonment.
[T]hings like these [criminal activities] are very hard to [pull off] without the massive complicity on the part of bank managers. The banking system contains corruption and [yet] it is the first front against terrorism and money laundering.
Furthermore, the proposal also suggests imprisonment of up to 7 years and fines up to 2.5 million rubles for those who engage in mining or transacting in bitcoin.
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