Russia's Ministry of Labor allows officials not to declare cryptocurrencies

Russia's Ministry of Labor allows officials not to declare cryptocurrencies
Photo: Alexander Demyanchuk / TASS

This is reported in the updated recommendations on the provision of information about income, expenses and assets.

The Russian Ministry of Labor has allowed officials not to indicate cryptocurrencies in their certificates on income and expenditure, property and estate liabilities. This is reported in the updated recommendations providing information on incomes of officials published by the Ministry,  Izvestia reports.

The recommendations are being developed by the Ministry of Labor together with the Presidential Administration and the Prosecutor General's Office. Officials are guided by this document during declarations campaigns. As edited, the new recommendations would read that goods and services, as well as the so-called virtual currencies, including bitcoin (in 2017, its rate increased 15 times and reached 20 thousand dollars), received in kind are not subject to declaration.

Other innovations in the document include the need for officials to specify their other place of work, if they have one. Legally, civil servants can simultaneously engage in scientific and creative activities, as well as teaching. In addition, the list of ‘other revenues’ that require specification has been extended – now the officials will have to declare money donated by relatives and third parties. The exception is funds from spouses or minor children.

Officials have also been allowed to provide information on expenses, even if there is no such need. At present, this is required only from those employees whose expenses have exceeded the total income for 3 years.

Experts believe that the new recommendations give officials the opportunity to receive bribes in cryptocurrencies. However, according to representative of the centre for public procedures Business Against Corruption Vladislav Tsepkov, it is impossible to spend virtual currencies as they are not a means of payment. Cryptocurrencies can be sold, but in this case, the revenues will have to be declared, which reduces the risk of bribery.

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