In a new move, Russian authorities have announced that officials have to start declaring their crypto holdings. They reversed a 2018 decision that did not require the declaration from officials.
Mandatory disclosure for public officials
Disclosure of crypto holdings will be considered mandatory for Russian public officials started January 1, 2021. The requirement was announced by Igor Krasnov, the Russian prosecutor general held a meeting with 15 fellow prosecutor generals representing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). He announced the new requirements on October 20, saying,
“Starting next year, civil servants will be required to declare [virtual] currencies on an equal basis with other assets.”
The Russian labor ministry announced in 2018 that public officials do not need to declare virtual asset holdings in their tax reports. It said that the status of crypto was unregulated, hence it was not to be included in tax reports. However, concerns about cryptocurrencies being used as instruments of bribery and corruption started to rise.
What brings new requirements?
The office of the Prosecutor General claims that it has confiscated over $440 million worth of undisclosed, non-cryptocurrency assets from public officials in the past three years. The new requirements come after President Vladimir Putin signed new laws in July that would classify crypto assets as physical commodities started in 2021. This is the first time that virtual currencies will be recognized in the country. The laws still do not recognize cryptocurrencies as legal tender. However, it would make crypto-activities legal in the country.
SCO member states include Russia, China, India, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. Non-member partners and observer states like Armenia, Cambodia, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Iran, Belarus, and Afghanistan were also present during the meeting. As Russia has announced mandatory crypto reporting requirements, it is likely that similar reporting requirements could be enacted in other European nations soon.
The Russian Federal Financial Monitoring Service claimed to have developed a partial de-anonymization system for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Monero in August. It also said that it is planning to sell the system to overseas countries interested in the system.
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