Belarus Seized Millions of Dollars in Crypto, Claims Lead Investigator BlockBlog
Belarusian authorities have brought the seizure of cryptocurrencies under control, the head of the country’s investigative commission revealed in a recent interview. The top law enforcement official claims that the state has already confiscated crypto assets worth millions of dollars.
Companies Reportedly Helped Belarusian Government Seize Cryptocurrency
Belarus faced the challenge of how to seize cryptocurrencies when they were first used in drug trafficking and later in economic crimes, said Dmitry Gora, who heads the investigative commission national, to the public channel ONT. He added that law enforcement needed to find a way to confiscate these digital assets and had already seized crypto worth hundreds of millions of Belarusian rubles (millions of US dollars).
The former Soviet republic, a close ally of Russia, legalized various crypto activities with a presidential decree that took effect in May 2018. The document introduced tax breaks and other incentives for crypto companies operating as as residents of the Hi-Tech Park (HTP) in Minsk as part of efforts to develop the country’s digital economy.
In March 2021, President Alexander Lukashenko hinted at a possible tightening of the country’s crypto regulations, referring to the example of China. However, HTP officials later insisted that Belarusian authorities had no plans to adopt stricter rules for the industry. Additionally, the Department of Finance has proposed changes to allow investment funds to acquire digital assets.
In April this year, the Department of Justice passed a legal procedure allowing for the seizure of crypto funds in an enforcement proceeding. It implements another decree by Lukashenko from February which ordered the creation of a special register for crypto wallets used for illicit purposes.
Dmitry Gora went on to quote his “advanced subordinates”, saying the cryptocurrency was just “digital trash”. “Based on this, I have set the task: our state needs money to compensate for the damage caused. Let’s think about how to make money from junk. I won’t go into details, but we have learned how to do it… There are mechanisms that allow us to deal with these problems, and with great success,” he explained.
The law enforcement official pointed out that government agencies and commercial organizations are involved in the process. As a result, “the amounts that are already in the form of good and normal money are in the accounts of the investigating committee,” Gora said.
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