The Russian Prosecutors Office General has send out a warning to businesses and individuals about the usage of Bitcoins, like the central bank did the past week. The central bank announced last week that Bitcoins were not legal to use in the country and now the security agents of Russia has started to investigate Bitcoin transactions.
Bitcoin payments and transfers are now being investigated as money laundering as well as for financing terrorism. The FSB and the Internal Ministry have announced that they will be checking companies accepting the virtual currency for fraud and money laundering.
“Our monitoring of the situation with the so-called virtual currencies shows that there is growing interest in them, including from those who want to use them for money laundering," the prosecutor's office general stated to ITAR-TASS.
“The official Russian currency is the ruble. The use of any other monetary instruments or surrogates is forbidden. The anonymous payment systems and crypto-currencies, including Bitcoin - which is the most popular of them - are monetary surrogates. As such, their use by private citizens or legal entities is not allowed," he continued.
Russian officials understands that banning private citizens from investing in Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies will not be very effective and have decided to instead focusing on identifying the recipients of Bitcoins in Russia.
“If we find that a company accepts Bitcoin payments, we can launch a criminal investigation against its managers under Article 174 of the Penal Code," the Prosecutor's office source stated. Russia is currently working on legislations to regulate the cryptocurrencies at hand.