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Belarus Seeks Authorization to Confiscate Crypto Involved in Illicit Activities

March 17, 2020

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Belarus Seeks Authorization to Confiscate Crypto Involved in Illicit Activities

Belarusian cybercrime authorities are now waiting for a green light from the authorities to be able to confiscate cryptocurrencies involved in money-laundering and other criminal cyber activities Ivan Noskevich, head of the Crime Investigative Committee of Belarus said during a live television interview with CTV, last week.

While the interview kicked-off discussing the recent bombing that occurred in the capital of Belarus Minsk, injuring eleven citizens and leaving one woman breathless, it ended up discussing cybercrime, focusing on credit and debit card frauds, as well as cryptocurrencies as a medium of funding terrorist organizations and their role as a digital haven for illicit money-laundering activities undergoing in the post-soviet country. 

The request to being able to confiscate crypto assets under a legal framework came directly from Noskevich’s office who is most likely inspired by analogous regulative measures already popular among other western countries. 

Recently the US Marshals Service (USMS) announced it will be auctioning near 4,000 Bitcoins worth over $35mn USD and which have been confiscated by cybercriminals, while popular UK auction house Wilsons Auctions is helping the Belgian government to get rid of some $125,000 worth of BTC later this month. 

Read More: What Lawmakers Make Of The Term ‘Blockchain’ In 2020?

EU’s latest anti-money-laundering directive essentially gives the European country members’ authorities the power to track down any cryptocurrency transaction that smells anything but roses, and the process is quite autonomous when it comes to public and transparent distributed ledgers such as Bitcoin’s blockchain. 

Of course, it is one thing knowing about an illicit transaction or one that might have been subject to illegal physical activity, and a totally different story to actually seize the accounts revolving around the suspicious transaction, not to mention auction the confiscated digital currencies occurring from the seized crypto wallets in the long-term. 

While it is completely legal to operate cryptocurrencies in Belarus since President Alexander Lukashenko passed a relative act back in 2017, the country has been hesitant with the field ever since and has minimal developments in the broader dlt sector. 

Noskevich added that his team has been monitoring suspicious activities involving cryptocurrencies for some time now, although the current regulatory framework is quite unclear if not absent as to what steps the investigative task force should have followed.

He expects that the government will realize the importance of his request and provide him with the authorization he’s looking for. 

Last year, a team of German policemen has tracked a cryptocurrency transaction that was allegedly used to purchase materials later used in a Synagogue bombing, resulting in 2 deaths, yet the German authorities did not lay a finger on the marked wallet, although its user was arrested and jailed properly.