According to the decision of the Russian Supreme Court (SC), the conversion of bitcoins into rubles can be considered the legalization of proceeds from crime, as evidenced by the case materials.
The Supreme Court considered the case of illegal possession of precursors of narcotic drugs on an especially large scale, as well as the production of mephedrone by the defendant. Payment for the goods was made using cryptocurrency, which the defendant converted into rubles. After that, he transferred money to the cards and accounts of the daughter of his cohabitant.
The Ryazan Regional Court (that is, the court of first instance), whose decision was considered in the Supreme Court, ruled that if a citizen does not put money received in this way into economic circulation, this does not indicate that he legalizes proceeds from crime. This caused disagreement of the Deputy Prosecutor General. He pointed out that the defendants purposefully carried out financial transactions, as a result of which 8.2 million rubles were withdrawn from the virtual account to the cards.
The Court of Appeal agreed with the decision of the trial court, but the Supreme Court found that the judgments expressed in the decision were "extremely contradictory". According to the Supreme Court, such financial transactions obviously "disguise the connection of the property being legalized with the criminal source of its origin." The Supreme Court also found that the introduction of such funds into economic circulation is not necessary for liability for money laundering, since this condition is not provided for in Art. 174.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
According to the decision of the Supreme Court, the sentence handed down by the court of first instance cannot be recognized as legal, so the case will be sent to the Ryazan Regional for a new trial.
In 2023, the State Duma wanted to pass a law that would legalize cryptocurrency as a financial product. Anatoly Aksakov, head of the committee of the lower house of the Russian parliament, spoke about this. At the same time, it was noted that it would not be used as a means of payment, but could be used to pay, for example, for parallel imports.