02 December 2021 13:08, UTC
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The lawyers told how to unblock a bank account, which transactions may be considered suspicious, and why it is important to make transactions with digital assets through an individual entrepreneur
In 2021, banks in Russia began to more often block customer accounts for transactions with cryptocurrency. In many ways, the Central Bank played a role in this, which in September announced its work with banks so that they slow down payments to crypto exchanges. Also, the financial regulator is discussing amendments to the legislation that will expand the ban on the use of cryptocurrencies and introduce administrative and criminal liability for violation of restrictions.
In the fall, the Bank of Russia published recommendations for banks on identifying payment cards and electronic wallets that accept payments to cryptocurrency exchangers, as well as online casinos, pyramid organizers and forex dealers. The regulator has identified eight signs by which banks can identify suspicious payment instruments:
- an unusually large number of counterparties – individuals, both payers and recipients of funds. More than ten per day or 50 per month;
- an unusually large number of operations for crediting and debiting funds carried out with individuals. More than 30 operations per day;
- significant volumes of transactions for writing off and crediting funds between individuals. For example, more than 100 thousand rubles. per day and more than 1 million rubles. per month;
- a short period of time (one minute or less) between crediting funds and debiting them;
- within 12 hours and more than one day, operations are carried out to credit and write off funds;
- during the week, the average balance of funds on the card or wallet account at the end of the transaction day does not exceed 10% of the average daily volume of transactions on the account during the specified period;
- the card or wallet does not carry out transactions to pay for goods or services;
- the use of one device by different individuals for remote access to the services of a credit institution for the transfer of funds.
The Bank of Russia also believes that if a citizen is not registered as an individual entrepreneur, but at the same time actually uses his personal account to earn money on cryptocurrency, then he is engaged in illegal business activities, warned the managing partner of the DRC law firm Sarkis Darbinyan. According to him, as a result, the bank can not only block the card or account, but also suspend remote banking services and send information on the client to the authorized body – the Federal Financial Monitoring Service.
Darbinyan explained what to do for a bank client who faced a similar problem:
1. If the bank refers to possible violations of clause 14 of Art. 7 ФЗ № 115-ФЗ and requires the provision of documents confirming the economic sense and validity of operations, the client should provide the bank with comprehensive explanations about the legality of the origin of income, as well as explain the nature of their activities. If suddenly the bank asks questions why the activity was carried out without the formation of a legal entity, it is necessary to explain to the bank that the activity related to the exchange of cryptocurrencies has not been regulated by the current legislation, it is impossible to officially conduct business on the exchange of cryptocurrencies due to the absence of a corresponding OKVED. At the same time, the possession and sale of digital currencies is not prohibited by the current law. If these explanations and documents confirming legal income are enough for the bank, the card will be unblocked.
2. If this did not happen and the bank refuses to service, then a written notification of the bank should be requested, which should indicate the justification for making such a decision. After receiving it, you should send a formal complaint to the bank, in which you can draw attention to disagreement with the decision and the right to go to court in case of failure to comply with legal requirements to resume service. It so happens that the bank only blocks the card and remote service through the application, leaving the client the opportunity to use the account when visiting the bank in person. In such cases, the bank’s attention should be drawn to the fact that 115-FZ does not provide for the bank’s ability to block an account, but only allows the bank to freeze funds.
3. If it is not possible to achieve a peaceful settlement of the dispute, it is necessary to contact lawyers and prepare a package of documents for going to court. There is a good practice. For example, the Sverdlovsk Regional Court took the client’s side in the dispute with Sberbank, and in the appeal instance charged Sberbank of Russia with the obligation to restore the client’s access to remote banking services and unblock bank cards.
4. It is important to remember that if you find yourself in a similar situation, the worst decision would be to agree to close the account and transfer the balance of the account to another bank of the client. Firstly, it may not be free of charge and a significant fine may be stipulated by the bank agreement. Secondly, by agreeing to this, the client may end up in the interbank register of unscrupulous clients (“stop lists”), whose operations are subject to increased control by the bank, and thereby become persona non grata in many Russian banks. And thirdly, the bank is likely to send information about the client to Rosfinmonitoring, which will take it “on the pencil”. Obviously, no one would like such consequences to occur, so your position should be defended as actively as possible, even though the client is always the weakest party under the contract.
The practice of blocking accounts that receive income from cryptocurrency exists, although it cannot be called widespread, added Roman Yankovsky, a member of the Commission on Legal Support of the Digital Economy of the Moscow Branch of the Russian Lawyers Association. He advised not to mix large inflows from sources that the bank might consider suspicious with its underlying holdings, so that a potential blockage would not affect fixed assets.
Blocking can be avoided by being careful and not giving banks a reason to think that the operation is somehow related to cryptocurrency: choose the right counterparties, formulate payment purposes and perform transactions within amounts that do not require mandatory control, concluded an expert from the Moscow Digital School, Efim Kazantsev.
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