The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) has issued new guidelines for the treatment of suspicious financial transactions as reported by the news portal RBC on 17th February. According to the new regulations any crypto transaction should be considered a potential risk of money laundering.

The new rules are the result of an update to Directive 375-P, which lists all financial activities that could be related to money laundering. For the first time since its introduction in 2012, the Directive has now been updated.

The latest update was prepared by the Central Bank of Russia in cooperation with the Federal Agency for Monitoring Financial Activities (Rosfinmonitoring). According to a central bank spokesperson, the directive also aims to „cover new suspicious transactions resulting from modern technological developments“.

As the head of the central bank had previously demanded, risk factors for money laundering must be minimized as far as possible. In the case of suspicious transactions, Russian banks and financial institutions, as in many other countries of the world, can therefore freeze capital movements or even entire accounts. The updated directive is designed to simplify the identification of such transactions.

Cryptocurrencies under general suspicion

In the course of the update, the central bank has also included crypto transactions in its list, although the definition of these transactions is very wide and amounts to a kind of general suspicion.

By contrast, cash transactions must meet several conditions in order to be considered suspicious. For example, if an individual withdraws a large part of the money paid by a company at once, this would be a suspicious transaction, as several suspicious circumstances are linked.

Crypto currencies, on the other hand, are „always“ under suspicion, so even buying and selling them is said to pose a potential risk of money laundering. Deposits and withdrawals on established crypto exchanges are also affected by this.

The new regulations come at the same time as Russian politicians continue to work diligently on their law for digital assets, which was originally introduced at the beginning of 2018. In the meantime, however, the mood towards cryptocurrencies seems to be getting worse, with recent discussions about whether crypto-payments should be generally banned.

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