The Ministry of Labor of the Russian Federation ordered Russian officials to get rid of cryptocurrencies by April 2021. The decision is explained by high corruption risks.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Russian Federation published a newsletter prohibiting Russian officials from owning cryptocurrencies. Those officials who already hold digital financial assets and currencies must sell them by April 2021.

“[Officials] are obliged, by April 1, 2021, to dispose of digital financial assets issued in information systems organized in accordance with foreign law, as well as digital currency regardless of the country of issue,” the information letter, dated December 16, 2020 and published on the website of the Ministry of Labor, reads.

The order applies to employees of federal authorities, supreme executive authorities in the regions, civil servants of the Central Bank, as well as employees of state corporations and state-owned companies, funds and other organizations created by the Russian Federation. The ban on the possession of cryptocurrencies was adopted within the framework of the federal law of 2013, according to which it is prohibited for certain categories of persons to open and have accounts and deposits, keep cash and valuables in foreign banks located outside the Russian territory, own or use foreign financial instruments.

In December 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree that obliges officials and applicants for the relevant positions to declare information about cryptocurrencies and tokens owned either by themselves or by their spouses and minor children.

The first reports must be submitted within the period from January 1 to June 30, 2021. It is not required to provide reports on transactions with CFA in 2020, since the law on CFA entered into force in the Russian Federation only on January 1, 2021. Under the new law, cryptocurrencies are recognized as property. Their use to pay for goods and services on the territory of Russia is prohibited.

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