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EU Clarifies Crypto-Related Sanctions on Russia & Belarus, But Questions Remain

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The European Union has today extended the scope of sanctions on Russia and Belarus, bringing clarifications on cryptoassets into the mix – but as the full legal text is not available yet, these points remain somewhat unclear.

Today, the European Commission said that the member states have agreed to adopt “further targeted sanctions in view of the situation in Ukraine and in response to Belarus’s involvement in the aggression.”

Two sections in this press release, however, make reference to crypto directly, stating that:

“[The] EU confirmed the common understanding that loans and credit can be provided by any means, including crypto assets, as well as further clarified the notion of “transferable securities”, so as to clearly include crypto-assets, and thus ensure the proper implementation of the restrictions in place.”

It also stated that the measures “clarify” that cryptos fall under the scope of “transferable securities”.

Asked for further clarification, an EU official told Cryptonews.com that the full legal text is not available at this point but that it will be published in the Official Journal “at some point soon.”

Per the official, however, today’s package

  • clarifies that cryptoassets fall under the scope of “transferable securities” – which was already the case but today’s text makes this point clearer;
  • confirms the common understanding that loans and credit also include crypto assets;
  • these clarifications will help ensure the proper implementation of the restrictions in place.

Niklas Schmidt, a lawyer and partner with the Austrian law firm WOLF THEISS, also noted that the European Commission’s press release is “a bit unclear.”

“I would think that the EU is trying to clarify that not only are loans of money to sanctioned entities and individuals forbidden, but also loans to sanctioned entities and individuals in crypto,” he told Cryptonews.com, noting that he can’t say if this has happened in practice.

“The second part is probably meaning to say that the term securities for the purposes of the sanction regime also includes security tokens,” he added, concluding that it’s “probably safe to wait for the text of the regulation.”


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