Russian Finance Ministry Pushes Draconian Digital Currency Draft Bill

Disagreements continue between various branches of the Russian government regarding the criminalization of digital currencies in the country.

A new draft bill submitted by Russia’s Finance Ministry – which proposes stiff penalties for citizens engaging in the exchange of virtual currency for Rubles – is being opposed by the Ministry of Justice.

According to a report by RamblerNewsService, the proposed bill was rejected on the grounds that the Ministry of Justice was not consulted.

“The Ministry of Justice of Russia does not agree with the bill, as the wording provided in the bill does not take into account the comments made previously by the ministry.”

In February of this year, the Finance Ministry released a version of the same draconian bill, which put virtual currencies under the ”money surrogates” classification. The Ministry of Justice makes the case that this version of the bill is still using the same broad categorization, which conflicts with existing definitions in the Russian Criminal Code, citing Article 187 (illegal circulation of methods of payment).

Under provisions outlined in Article 187 of the Criminal Code, perpetrators are punished with a mandatory five-year work program or a six-year incarceration, in addition to a 100,000 – 300,000 Ruble fine.

Regardless of the objection, the Finance Ministry has the authority to submit the bill in its current form. Additionally, the Finance Ministry is of the opinion that investigations into illegal bitcoin-to-Ruble transactions should be carried out by the Investigative Committee, which has previously taken a negative attitude towards virtual currencies.


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