Russia Plans to Confiscate Crypto Assets Acquired Through Criminal Activities by the End of 2021


Russian authorities have drafted an ambitious plan to monitor cryptocurrency use and seize any crypto assets linked with crime. 

As reported by the Russian news outlet RBC, Russians authorities including the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Justice Ministry, among others, are in the process of drafting proposals for the seizure of cryptocurrencies and other virtual assets from criminals. These agencies are expected to come up with a mechanism of seizing these assets by Dec 31, 2021.  

Laws on Crypto Assets in Russia Are Not Clear

Nonetheless, Russia currently lacks legal laws regulating cryptocurrency use in the country, and this may limit law enforcers from impounding digital assets from crime. 

The head of criminal and administrative law practice at NSA Amuleks, Alena Zelenovskaya, stated that: “The trend of a constant increase in the number of crimes using virtual assets dictates the need to develop mechanisms for legal regulation and control over the circulation of virtual assets. 

Co-owner and CEO of the platform told RBC that Russia does not have full control over cryptocurrency and that there is a need for the legislature to develop laws that will regulate digital assets and make it legal for them to be confiscated. 

He was quoted saying:

“In order to be confiscated, they must be recognized at the legislative level either as a commodity or a cash equivalent.” 

He further added: 

“If law enforcement agencies begin to discuss the forfeiture of cryptocurrency, then, in fact, they are launching a mechanism for legalizing cryptocurrency in the territory of Russia.” 

While the Russian government has been at the forefront of developing regulations to govern the rapidly growing cryptocurrency industry, it has dramatically failed in the implementation of these regulations.

Crypto Crimes are Rising Globally

In the past few years, there has been a surge in criminal activities involving crypto use. Security experts have raised concerns over the upsurge of organized crime groups and terrorist who leverage cryptocurrency to transfer and launder illicit cash, and blackmailers who demand payment in anonymous coins — for instance, police in ST. Petersburg was said to have received an anonymous letter threatening to blow up several railway stations across the country if demands of 50 BTC were not met.  

However, in the wake of rampant crypto-enabled criminal activities in the country, it seems the country is stopping at nothing to fight crimes propagated with the help of cryptocurrency. While there are some technical difficulties to monitor cryptocurrency use and cut down on such crimes, Russia will definitely look at ways of overcoming them. Whether the said plan will work, time will tell.      

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