Authorities in Belarus have mastered the seizure of cryptocurrencies, the head of the country’s investigative committee revealed in a recent interview. The senior law enforcement official claims the state has already seized millions of dollars worth of crypto assets.
Companies are allegedly helping the Belarusian government seize crypto
Belarus had to deal with the challenge of confiscating cryptocurrencies when they were first used in drug trafficking and later in economic crimes, Dmitry Gora, who heads the country’s investigative committee, told state broadcaster ONT. He added that law enforcement would have to find a way to seize such digital assets and had already seized hundreds of millions of Belarusian rubles (millions of US dollars) worth of crypto.
The former Soviet republic, a close ally of Russia, legalized various crypto activities with a presidential decree that went into effect in May 2018. The document introduced tax breaks and other incentives for crypto companies operating as residents of 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, citing the example of China. However, HTP officials later insisted that the Belarusian authorities had no intention of imposing stricter rules on the industry. In addition, the Ministry of Finance proposed changes to allow mutual funds to acquire digital assets.
In April of this year, the Justice Department passed a legal process that allows for the seizure of cryptocurrency funds as part of enforcement proceedings. It implements another decree by Lukashenko in February, which ordered the creation of a special registry for crypto wallets used for illicit purposes.
Dmitry Gora further quoted his “advanced subordinates” as saying that cryptocurrency is just “digital garbage”. “Based on that, I set the task: Our state needs money to compensate for the damage that has been caused. Let’s think about how to make money out of garbage. I won’t go into detail, but we’ve learned how to do it… There are mechanisms that allow us to deal with these issues, and quite successfully at that,” he said.
The law enforcement agency pointed out that both government agencies and commercial organizations are involved in the process. As a result, “the amounts that are already in the form of good, normal money are in the accounts of the investigative committee,” Gora said.
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