A Belarusian citizen will have to pay a hefty fine for illegally organizing the exchange of cryptocurrencies online. Law enforcement authorities in the country, where certain crypto activities are legal, do not plan to impose other penalties besides the administrative measure.
Cryptocurrency Trader Tries to Challenge Fine in Belarusian Court
The Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus has rejected the appeal of a Belarusian against a lower-instance ruling ordering him to pay 2,700,000 Belarusian rubles (around $1 million) to the state for trading digital assets outside the law.
The man, identified only by the initial ‘A,’ is accused of using the Telegram messenger to set up an online cryptocurrency exchanger in January 2021. He allegedly made 5,400,000 rubles as income from his illegal activities.
According to a post by the Belarusian Ministry of Taxes and Duties, quoted by the crypto news outlet Bits.media, investigators were able to trace his transactions and submit the gathered evidence to the judiciary. The fine was imposed by the Economic Court of Minsk.
The department believes the decision to confiscate half of his proceeds is fair, given that the court could have ordered him to part with the full amount. While the trader did not dispute the illegal nature of his business, he was unhappy with the size of the fine and decided to file a complaint with the high court, which upheld the original ruling.
Belarus legalized crypto-related activities such as mining and trading with a decree signed by President Alexander Lukashenko which entered into force in 2018, as long as they are performed by entities registered under the special legal and tax regime of the Belarus Hi-Tech Park.
However, the government has been going after illegal operations with cryptocurrencies. In May of last year, the head of the Investigative Committee revealed the country’s law enforcement had managed to seize digital assets linked to crime worth millions of U.S. dollars.
In August, the Belarusian authorities issued an international arrest warrant for the owner of the country’s ‘largest crypto exchanger,’ Bitok.me. Following a two-year investigation against Vladislav Kuchinsky and three of his accomplices, he was accused of large-scale tax evasion.
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