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Finance ministers say the EU is taking action against Russia because it is using crypto to get around sanctions

“We want to be flexible and active when it comes to economic and financial penalties,” France’s finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, said.

Russia’s possible use of cryptocurrencies to escape sanctions imposed on it following its actions in Ukraine will be addressed by European Union economy and finance ministers, according to a statement.

Following an informal video conference of EU economy and finance ministers on Wednesday, France’s finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, told reporters through an interpreter that lawmakers had already worked to freeze “a significant amount of assets” in Russia’s central bank as part of the country’s ongoing efforts in Ukraine. However, he went on to say that the EU’s 27 member states had agreed to take extra steps to prevent Russia from dodging sanctions, including extending them to Belarus.

“We’re taking steps, particularly with regard to cryptocurrencies or crypto assets, which should not be exploited to avoid financial sanctions,” Le Maire added. “We will monitor the execution of these penalties, their effectiveness, and any additional actions that may be required on a daily basis.” We want to stay adaptable and mobilised when it comes to economic and financial penalties.”

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Christian Lindner, Germany’s finance minister, is said to have echoed Le Maire’s remarks, stating that EU leaders should “take actions to prevent listed individuals and institutions from transferring to unregulated crypto assets,” alluding to Russian-based individuals and banks included in the sanctions. Following the meeting, the European Union announced that seven Russian banks will be removed from the SWIFT cross-border payments system, with the removal taking effect in ten days.

In the last six days, cryptocurrency has been on many parliamentarians’ lips as world leaders consider options in their armoury to ostensibly warn Russian President Vladimir Putin of the financial ramifications of his actions in Ukraine.

On February 25, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde urged EU lawmakers to establish a crypto regulatory framework, implying that this may prevent Russia from circumventing sanctions. Similarly, senators in the United States have pushed for legislation that would allow the country to gain from digital assets rather than “the world’s despots, terrorists, and money launderers.”

 

Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.

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