Belarusian man fined $1 million for illegal crypto-currency trading

A Belarusian citizen will have to pay a hefty fine for illegally organizing the exchange of crypto-currencies online. Law enforcement authorities in the country, where some crypto activities are legal, do not plan to impose any penalties other than the administrative measure.

Crypto-currency trader tries to challenge fine in Belarusian court

The Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus has rejected an appeal by a Belarusian man against a trial court ruling that ordered him to pay 2,700,000 Belarusian rubles (about $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 crypto-currency exchange in January 2021. He allegedly earned 5,400,000 rubles as income from his illegal activities.

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According to a post by the Belarusian Ministry of Taxes and Fees, cited by crypto-currency news site Bits.media, investigators were able to trace his transactions and submit the collected evidence to the courts. The fine was imposed by the Minsk Economic Court.

The Ministry believes that the decision to confiscate half of his revenue is fair, as the court could have ordered him to part with the entire amount. Although the trader did not dispute the illegal nature of his activity, he was not satisfied with the amount of the fine and decided to file a complaint with the high court, which upheld the original judgment.

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Belarus legalized crypto-currency-related activities, such as mining and trading, with a decree signed by President Alexander Lukashenko that came into effect in 2018, as long as they are carried out by entities registered under the special legal and tax regime of the Belarus Hi-Tech Park.

However, the government is going after illegal transactions with crypto-currencies. In May last year, the head of the Investigative Committee revealed that the country’s law enforcement agencies had managed to seize digital assets linked to crime worth millions of US dollars.

In August, Belarusian authorities issued an international arrest warrant for the owner of the “largest crypto-currency exchange” in the country, Bitok.me. Following a two-year investigation against Vladislav Kuchinsky and three of his accomplices, he was charged with large-scale tax evasion.

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