Implementing a recently signed presidential decree, the government of Belarus has introduced a procedure allowing the state to seize digital currency holdings. The move will grant law enforcement authorities in Minsk powers to seize crypto assets linked to illegal activities.
Justice Ministry Regulates Confiscation of Digital Coins in Belarus
The Ministry of Justice of Belarus has established a legal procedure for the seizure of cryptocurrency funds as part of enforcement proceedings, the crypto news outlet Forklog reported, quoting an announcement released by the department.
The measure aims to implement a decree by President Alexander Lukashenko pertaining to the country’s crypto space. Signed by the Belarusian leader in February, it orders the creation of a special register for crypto wallet addresses used for illicit purposes.
Authorities conducting the criminal process will account for the seized or forfeited crypto funds, the justice ministry detailed. Its document dated April 14 also covers the foreclosure of digital assets as part of confiscations of debtors’ property and regulates their valuation.
The government in Minsk had three months to take the necessary steps to implement Lukashenko’s latest crypto-related order after which it will enter into force.
Belarus legalized various crypto activities with another presidential decree signed in late 2017 and enforced in May of the following year. It introduced tax breaks and other incentives for crypto businesses operating as residents of the Hi-Tech Park (HTP) in Minsk within efforts to develop the country’s digital economy.
The former Soviet republic, a close ally of Russia, does not allow the use of cryptocurrencies in payments. Nevertheless, Belarus ranks third in the region in terms of crypto adoption, according to the Crypto Adoption Index produced by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis, largely due to strong peer-to-peer activity.
In March last year, Lukashenko hinted at a possible tightening of the country’s crypto regulations and referred to China’s policies. However, HTP officials later clarified that Belarusian authorities had no plan to adopt stricter rules for the industry. What’s more, in February of this year, the Ministry of Finance proposed amendments that will allow investment funds to acquire digital assets.
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