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Rosfinmonitoring to Handle Cryptocurrency Regulation in Russia

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The Russian federal financial authority Rosfinmonitoring (RFM) will oversee and register ICO startups, exchanges, crypto services, and even blockchain wallet operators in the country, RBC reports.

According to the authority, the agency is ready to comply with the long-awaited domestic Financial Action Task Force (FATF) rules to fight money laundering on the web.

All 140 member states of the FATF will soon update their existing financial laws to make it mandatory for cryptocurrency-linked businesses including digital assets exchanges, initial coin offerings (ICOs) and others to obtain the relevant licenses from regulators and conduct robust know-your-customer (KYC) anti-money laundering (AML) procedures, RFM said.

According to the agency’s head Pavel Livadniy, control over the domestic cryptoeconomy would increase investor protections, as well as the transparency of the whole industry. He cast the shift as a bid to “return trust.”

He added that FATF would introduce intensified licensing measures, i.e. the registration and accounting of all crypto-related businesses. Furthermore, he said transfers worth more than 600,000 rubles (roughly $9,150)  are likely to trigger an investigation.

The official commented that cryptocurrencies were set to be defined as a “legit tool of payment and investment,” however Russians can no longer move large sums of coins around with no repercussions as such activities will be considered business-related going forward.

Last week, it was reported that cryptocurrencies were originally set to be excluded from FATF’s coming virtual economy rules. Now, officials are signaling that they will, in fact, use the coming legislation to formalize monitoring on Russian cryptocurrency users and enterprises.

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Court in Gibraltar Extends Iranian Tanker’s Detention for 30 Days

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A court in Gibraltar has extended the detention of an Iranian oil tanker for 30 days, AFP reported, citing Gibraltar’s attorney general. According to the agency, the order authorising the detention of the tanker can be extended for up to 90 days.

“We look forward to continuing to work constructively and positively with officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran to facilitate the release of the Grace 1 pursuant to the satisfaction of all legal requirements,” Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told the territory’s parliament, as quoted by AFP.

On 4 July, the supertanker Grace 1 was detained off the coast of the British Mediterranean territory of Gibraltar on suspicions of it carrying oil to Syria for refinement.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt discussed the issue earlier this week, with Mr Zarif urging London to release the tanker. He also stressed that Tehran would continue its oil exports under any circumstances. Mr Hunt, for his part, said that the Grace 1 would be released once Iran gives guarantees about its destination.

The tanker’s four crew members were freed on bail earlier this month after being questioned.

The situation in the Gulf has remained tense since the US tightened the sanctions it reimposed on the Iranian oil sector after quitting the 2015 nuclear deal.

A series of incidents, including attacks on oil tankers, took place in the Gulf of Oman in May and June. Washington has blamed the attacks on Tehran, but the latter has denied all the accusations.

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Russia in Confidential Consultations with the Netherlands on MH17 Crash

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Russia is having confidential consultations with the Netherlands on MH17 flight that was downed over Donbass in July 2014, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said on Friday.

“Such consultations are underway, but we agreed that the process will have a confidential character,” the diplomat said.

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Links Between Russia and EU’s Right-Wing Parties Cause for Concern, Says Merkel

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Relations between Moscow and EU’s right-wing political parties are a cause for concern, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday during a press conference in Berlin.

“Some questions arise here,” she stated. “We have constantly monitored the very strong support that right-leaning parties have received from Russia in one way or the other.” “This is a cause for concern,” Merkel stressed.

The German chancellor also mentioned the scandal regarding the alleged financing of Italy’s Lega party by Russia, noting that the Italian side must investigate the allegations in detail.

Milan’s prosecution launched a case based on the publications on the US BuzzFeed website and in the Italian L’Espresso weekly news magazine shedding light on the alleged financing Lega was receiving from Russia, qualifying the case as international corruption.

The main suspect in the case is one of the associates of Italy’s Deputy PM Matteo Salvini, head of th-e Lombardy-Russia Association Gianluca Savoini. According to the prosecution, his voice can be heard on the BuzzFeed published audio recording of an alleged conversation with Russian entrepreneurs with ties to the Kremlin, during which a possible oil supply contract was discussed. The party could have received the deal dividends amounting to $65 mln.

Both Salvini and Savoini have denied the allegations.

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