Russia’s Financial Watchdog Investigates 400 Crypto-Related Cases, Director Tells Putin

The Federal Financial Monitoring Service of the Russian Federation (also known as Russianmonitoring) is currently trying to uncover around 400 cases where cryptocurrencies are involved. Yury Chikhanchin (director of the agency) revealed the number to President Vladimir Putin.

They are being worked on by the financial watchdog together with representatives of both the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Federal Security Service (FSB), a high-ranking official said. He also stated that 20 criminal cases have been filed against law enforcement officials in relation to digital assets.

Chikhanchin commented on the volume registered by his department for crypto turnover and acknowledged that Russians continue actively to use cryptocurrency platforms based in other countries. He elaborated:

This phenomenon is still ongoing. Only on two foreign exchanges, several hundred thousands Russian citizens are involved in transactions that amount to tens or hundreds of billions.

The regulator was quoted by RBC’s crypto outlet. He said that these transactions are not just settlements or investments. Yury Chikhanchin believes that some of these transfers may be related to criminal activity.

Official data from earlier this year shows that there were more than 1,500 court cases in Russia relating to cryptocurrency and crypto mining by 2021. 62% of them were criminal cases. Most of these were related to drug trafficking. These numbers indicate a 40% annual growth.

Russia has yet to regulate its crypto-space with a law “On Digital Currency” that lawmakers will be reviewing during the fall session at the State Duma (the lower house of parliament).

Moscow’s intuitions agree that the ruble should be the sole legal currency. However, officials are looking into the possibility of allowing crypto payments for small settlements within international trade.