The European Union bans crypto payments from Russians to European wallet providers
On October 6, 2022, European Union (EU) adopted its package of Russian sanctions on all crypto services to Russian entities as part of its eighth round of sanctions against the country. The increased measures are intended as punishment for “Russia’s continued escalation and illegal war against Ukraine.”
EU introduced a set of economic and political measures against Russia after the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. In April 2022, the EU announced that it would restrict Russian payments to European crypto wallets to 10,000 euros and allowed such services to continue servicing Russian wallets holding €10,000 or less, as it sought to stop digital assets being used to bypass restrictions on large bank transfers. However, the new sanctions measures announced in October mean that figure could now be reduced to zero.
Furthermore, it removes the threshold for the existing prohibition on the provision of crypto-asset wallet, account or custody services to Russian persons and residents, thereby banning the provision of such services regardless of the total value of such crypto-asset. It shall be prohibited to provide crypto-asset wallet, account, or custody services to Russian nationals, or natural persons residing in Russia, or legal persons, entities, or bodies established in Russia.
The package will also widen the number of services that can no longer be provided to Russian individuals and entities residing or registered in Russia including the Russian government:
- Extending sanctions to the entities that have played a role in spreading disinformation about the war;
- Extending the restrictions on exporting items that may contribute to the development of Russia’s military defense and security sector;
- Prohibition on holding any posts for EU nationals on the governing bodies of certain Russian state-owned or controlled legal persons, entities, or bodies;
- Prohibition on providing architectural, engineering services, IT consultancy services, and legal advisory services to Russia.
According to the Council, existing and new restrictions will be applied to all Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine.
The European Commission has a dedicated webpage, entitled Sanctions adopted following Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, which contains information on the various sanctions adopted.
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