Russian Court Denies Theft Victim Access to Stolen Bitcoin
A Russian court has denied a claimant the right to reclaim almos BTC 100 (USD 920,000), stating that crypto has no legal value – meaning courts are powerless to enforce property rights.
Per a Telegram post from the district court’s press office, in Russia’s second-largest city, St. Petersburg, a judge ruled that bitcoins and other tokens that make use of cryptographic and blockchain technology cannot be considered as property in criminal cases, due to the fact that cryptocurrencies have no legal status in the country.
The court justified its decision by stating that central Bank of Russia guidelines stipulate that cryptocurrencies may not be used as a means of payment or a form of exchange in the country.
However, cryptocurrency experts in the country say they are baffled by the decision.
Russian crypto investment advisor Dmitriy Zaikov told Cryptonews.com,
“Only a few weeks ago, MPs were debating draft bills that would protect crypto property rights, in inheritance cases, for example. How is this ruling in the spirit of that sort of law? Even if they are just draft bills, it’s pretty obvious the mood has changed. The [Central Bank’s] guidelines are only one side of the argument.”
Late last year, the government also unveiled draft legislation that would allow courts and the police to seize cryptocurrencies, while the nation has also rolled out crypto taxation.
The St. Petersburg ruling comes as part of a fraud case perpetuated in 2018 whereby two men posing as security services officers attacked a man and threatened him with torture unless he handed over several hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, as well as just shy of BTC 100.
The men, who were handed sentences of eight and 10 years of hard labor, were ordered to reimburse the stolen fiat, but the victim was not allowed access to his lost crypto.