The Ministry of Justice in Russia has, once again, not agreed to a draft bill put forth by the Finance Ministry seeking to ban bitcoin and introduce criminal liabilities to those who adopt, transact or mine the cryptocurrency.
The Russian Ministry of Justice has disagreed with the bitcoin bill prepared by the Ministry of Justice, despite the bill being the second version of the draft, due to be entered into the State Duma – the lower chamber of the Russian Parliament.
The first draft saw the Ministry of Justice disagreeing with some of the wording of the bill, specifically the lack of a precise definition for money substitutes or “surrogates,” as described in the bill. The term is one frequently used to describe bitcoin by Russian authorities who have taken a hardline stance against the cryptocurrency.
The Ministry of Justice had previously questioned the first draft, underlining a need to study the introduction of criminal liability for individuals and administrative bodies found using bitcoin. The bill proposes imprisonment of up to 7 years, including substantial fines. Furthermore, the implication by the Finance Ministry that money surrogates or bitcoin posed a threat to the public’s safety was “questionable,” the Justice Ministry previously stated.
Questioning the intent to criminalize bitcoin usage, the Russian Interior Ministry also weighed in. The Interior Ministry saw the inclusion of cryptocurrencies’ control and supervision under law enforcement’s purview to be a burden and a “distraction.”
Now, in a report by the Moscow-based news agency RNS, the Ministry of Justice has revealed that the Finance Ministry turned in the second draft without addressing the scrutiny by the former in the first draft.
The draft law has now been agreed upon by the Ministry of Justice of Russia because the provided bill does not take the comments previously made by the Office (of the Ministry of Justice), into account. In this regard, a protocol of the conciliation meeting toward the bill was signed.
Notably, the draft bill will still be presented to the State Duma, despite the disagreement shown toward the bill by the Ministry of Justice.
With the bill, the Finance Ministry also proposes that the power of investigation in cases of exchange of cryptocurrency for rubles lay squarely in the hands of the Investigative Committee of Russia.
CCN has previously reported on remarks by Chairman of the Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, a vocal critic of cryptocurrency usage in Russia. The official claimed bitcoin’s rapid spread in usage “will represent a real threat to the financial stability of the state.”
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