In an apparent clampdown on the use of Bitcoin in Russia, the Russian prosecutor general’s office said it was tightening up regulations surrounding the use of virtual currencies as they could be used for money laundering or financing terrorism.
The Russian prosecutor general’s office said that the rouble was the only official currency in Russia and introducing others was illegal.
“Systems for anonymous payments and cyber-currencies that have gained considerable circulation – including the most well-known, Bitcoin – are money substitutes and cannot be used by individuals or legal entities,” it said in a statement to Reuters.
The use of Bitcoin for alleged money laundering led to the arrests of two men in the US last week.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told Bloomberg in a statement that the “arrests may be the first state prosecutions involving the use of Bitcoins in money laundering operations”.
“Bitcoins are neither good nor bad. Buying bitcoins allows money to be anonymously moved around the world with a click of a computer mouse. Improperly used, Bitcoins are often seen as a perfect means of laundering dirty money or for buying and selling illegal goods, such as drugs or stolen credit card information,” she added.
Federal charges have already been brought against the operators of two exchanges for money laundering in the US.