Russian government officials have to dispose of all digital asset assets before April 1, according to a letter from the Ministry of Labor.



Cryptocurrency ban

The Russian Ministry of Labor notified officials of federal and local government bodies that they are prohibited from owning cryptocurrencies and must dispose of any crypto-focused assets.

A document published on the ministry’s website dated December 16, 2020 shows that the directive aims to prevent corruption. The news was first reported by the Russian crypto news outlet Forklog.

The letter states that federal and local level public officials in Russia, including the members of the board of directors of the Central Bank of Russia and the heads of state-owned companies, and their spouses and minors, cannot own cryptocurrencies and any digital assets issued from outside.

Emphasis on the law

The letter refers to the law on digital assets that came into effect this January. The law includes a number of changes to other Russian laws, including the law that prohibits government officials from opening accounts with foreign banks and purchasing financial instruments from foreign countries. This list now includes “digital assets issued in accordance with foreign laws and cryptocurrencies”.

State officials now have to dispose of any digital assets by April 1, 2021.

However, the disclosure rules are not very strict yet. As this is the first year that the new law comes into force, public officials are not required to declare their ownership of digital assets along with other types of property in their anti-corruption statements for 2020.

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It is unclear how many government officials in Russia own cryptocurrencies, as there are no public reports on the matter.

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