In a recent development, public officials in Russia have been mandated to declare their crypto holdings to the state from 1st January 2021. The order reverses the edict of 2018, vide which it wasn’t mandatory for Russian officers to publicly declare their crypto assets.
The above consensus was reached after a meeting between the office of the Russian prosecutor general and 15 other prosecutor generals who represented the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states, and the requirements were announced on 20th October.
Igor Krasnov, the prosecutor general, stated that it was necessary for civil servants to declare digital (or virtual) currencies, equally with other assets, from next year.
In 2018, Russia’s labor ministry announced it wasn’t necessary for public officials to publicly declare their crypto-asset holdings in their income tax reports. This was primarily based on the fact that digital currencies were unregulated. But after reports emerged of crypto assets being the financial medium of choice for corruption and bribery, the 2018 order was withdrawn and reversed.
The office of the prosecutor general of Russia claims to have seized undisclosed, non-crypto asset holdings worth $440 million in the past three years.
The latest requirements are compliant with the new laws signed and validated by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin in July, earlier this year. The new laws state that from 2021, crypto assets must be classified on an equal basis with physical commodities. This was a breakthrough decision that recognized cryptocurrencies for the first time in Russia.
Even though the laws don’t clearly state cryptos being legitimate tender, crypto transactions across the country were legitimized.
Apart from Russia, the present parties at the meeting included representatives from India, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, China, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan. Prosecutor generals from non-member and observer states- Belarus, Afghanistan, Iran, Mongolia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Cambodia were also present at the meeting where the primary topic of discussion revolved around tackling corruption.
The new requirements stated in the latest Russian laws may have widespread implications. Many experts believe there might be similar laws implemented in the entire Eurasian region.
Federal Financial Monitoring Service of Russia claimed in August that they had developed a system that had the potential to partially de-anonymize crypto transactions with the help of Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin (BTC), and Monero (XMR). They also stated that other countries showed interest in the system, indicating that it might sell the mechanism to allied countries.