Putin issues orders to combat ‘illegal cross-border transfers’ of digital assets

Russia is apparently preparing to scrutinize cross-border cryptocurrency transactions for potential illegal activity.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has stressed the importance of developing additional measures to fight against illegal cross-border transactions of digital financial assets.

Speaking at a board meeting of the General Prosecutor’s office Wednesday, Putin stated that “criminal elements have been increasingly deploying digital financial assets,” which needs special attention from the government.

“There is one more point — quite new, but essential: we should take additional measures to suppress illegal cross-border movement of digital financial assets,” Putin said. The President ordered local enforcement as well as the Federal Service for Financial Monitoring, or Rosfinmonitoring, to give all their attention to this issue.

As Putin did not elaborate on the context of illegal cross-border transactions using digital assets, it now appears to be unclear what violations exactly he meant. Nikita Soshnikov, a former senior lawyer at Deloitte CIS and director of Alfacash, told Cointelegraph:

“It is not the first time when the President asks law enforcement agencies and a Russian financial intelligence unit to pay special attention to crypto transactions in such a negative context. But it is unclear what is meant by “cross-border” crypto operations which are world-wide by their nature and how law enforcement measures could apply.”

Russia adopted its major cryptocurrency law, “On Digital Financial Assets,” in January 2020, officially prohibiting payments made in cryptos like Bitcoin in the country. The Russian government has also been working on separate initiatives to adopt restrictions on foreign payment services and digital wallets like AliPay and WeChat.

Putin’s latest remarks on illegal cross-border digital asset transactions come amid somewhat intensifying relations between Russia and the United States.

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