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How not to get a bank account lock for operations with cryptocurrency, tips

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Recently, the story of the blocking of Tinkoff Bank accounts of a client who sold Bitcoin in a crypto exchanger has spread on the Internet. HYIP identified other similar cases. Actually the problem is not new.

The status of cryptocurrency in Russia can not determine for several years. It is still impossible to legally withdraw a large amount to a bank account. Accounts can be blocked even for minor transfers related to cryptocurrency. Why is this happening and how to avoid it – let's look at this material.

How do banks block accounts for cryptocurrency transactions?

In mid-February, entrepreneur David Oganyan posted a post on Facebook that Tinkoff Bank had blocked his accounts for selling Bitcoin for 40,000 rubles on LocalBitcoins .

David has been buying and selling cryptocurrencies since the end of 2017, using Tinkoff cards, including – there were no problems before. Having sold Bitcoin (BTC) at the end of 2018 on the exchanger and received money for a personal Tinkoff card, a few days later the entrepreneur received a notice of its blocking.

The reason is the complaint of the owner of the card from which the money was transferred for the purchase of cryptocurrency. Ohanyan honestly admitted to supporting that he received money from the sale of Bitcoin → support offered to return the money to the sender → David refused → the bank offered the entrepreneur to terminate the contract and withdraw the money.

David told about the Facebook case and VC.ru, which caused a heated discussion in the comments to which the bank representatives came. The story went online — Ohanyan was unblocked by cards and returned to premium services, while requesting documents for each transaction in the past two months.

Representatives of the bank publicly replied that they "have no restrictions on operations with bitcoins , if they are committed within the framework of the law." According to them, the accounts were not frozen, but only the remote banking service was suspended. After checking the restrictions were lifted.

The situation may come as a surprise, but the bank acted strictly within the framework of the law and claims to a “sudden” blocking are unfounded. Perhaps David was transferred by a fraudster, and the entrepreneur himself became the ultimate recipient of the stolen money. Naturally, this attracted the attention of bank employees.

Obviously, this is not a massive problem – most users of LocalBitcoins and Tinkoff have no such problems. However, judging by the comments of the post commentators, as well as messages on the cryptoinvestor forums, other cryptocurrency owners faced the same problem, holding money in different banks and payment systems: Sberbank, Alfa Bank, Raiffeisenbank, Yandex.Money, etc.

Is it legal to block a bill for buying and selling cryptocurrency?

Yes. According to 115-ФЗ – Federal Law “On Counteracting Legalization (Laundering) of Proceeds from Crime and Financing of Terrorism” – banks cannot make transfers in excess of $ 15,000 from an unknown sender, have to check payments in excess of $ 600,000 and report them to RosFinMonitoring.

Banks can block any accounts, transfers, and transactions that seem suspicious to them. If the origin of the money causes questions to the bank, it can cancel the transaction or freeze the account until the client explains the origin of the money.

Not only cryptoinvestors have problems with blocking accounts for suspicious transactions, but also ordinary customers who transfer money from card to card. Banks in thousands are blocking funds for depositing funds, large transfers, cash withdrawals, as well as transfers from WebMoney, QIWI, Forex, online casinos, etc.

It is still more difficult with cryptocurrencies – in Russia they have no legal status, and it is sometimes impossible to trace the origin of funds. While there are no special laws, banks rely on the Law on Currency Regulation , 115-ФЗ, the letters of the Central Bank , the Ministry of Finance and the Tax and the fresh decision of the Plenum of the Supreme Court . They say that cryptocurrencies are not legally prohibited, but are considered sufficient grounds for checking for involvement in laundering of proceeds from crime or financing of terrorism.

The main task of banks is to comply with the requirements of RosFinMonitoring. Since cryptocurrencies have not been legally defined yet, for banks, operations with their use are a reason to be safe. Therefore, they most demandingly apply to the monitoring of operations related to cryptocurrencies, control the sources of income, identify the owners of such accounts. Banks can block any operations where the source of funds contains cryptocurrencies. Banks may not do so, but are reinsured because they are afraid of losing the license.

If you transfer money without specifying the source or purpose of the payment, the bank may suspect you of money laundering and terrorist financing. If you specify cryptocurrencies in the source of the money, most banks will simply block the account and transfer information about this to RosFinMonitoring. He can request documents, and can be satisfied with your words – as lucky.

10 tips on how not to get a lock account for the purchase / sale of cryptocurrency

There are several ways. None of them is universal and does not guarantee the absence of problems.

  • Do not use the services of banks. The easiest and most obvious way. For example, with the same LocalBitcoins you can withdraw money via PayPal or in cash via a postal order in Webmoney or Western Union.
  • Withdraw funds through exchanges and exchangers. For banks, they are less suspicious than a transfer from an individual. The money goes out after conversion and it’s difficult to track down the source – for banks it looks like a transfer to an individual. On the other hand, usually exchanges and exchangers have limits, so when withdrawing funds you have to perform several operations – for banks this is a reason to be wary.

“The reputation of the cryptocurrency exchange , its jurisdiction are also of great importance for the monitoring service of the bank. There are a number of large exchanges that value their reputation, licenses and have long established themselves in the eyes of regulators as reliable partners and service providers. The participation of reliable exchanges in the chain of transactions is perceived by banks more positively than when cryptocurrency was exchanged on crypto platforms, the leaders and owners of which violate the law, cheat their customers, avoid any interactions with the state, ” maintenance of blockchain projects.

Mikhail Uspensky, a partner at the law firm Taxology, advised to contact the technical support of the exchange in advance and find out what payments are being made to fiat payments. If the payment item contains a reference to cryptocurrency, the probability of blocking an account is significantly increased.

  • Use Russian exchanges and exchangers, transfers in rubles. It should be remembered that the transfer from a foreign, even licensed platform, may cause the bank to be suspicious of a currency transfer. “The easiest way is to withdraw funds in rubles, if it is done in another currency (in euros or dollars), then you will need to go through the currency control procedure in the bank,” Anna Tigeeva advised.
  • Use personal cards only. At the tax and without the use of accounts of legal entities there is enough reason to accuse the cryptoinvestor of illegal business on occasion – you should not give her an extra reason. You can also use several cards in different banks at once – simple, banal, but working advice.
  • Make deals less often. A few proceeds from the sale of the crypt can still pass for the investment. But if there are too many such transfers, the tax authority has grounds to accuse you of illegal business.
  • Do not rush to withdraw funds. Banks are suspicious of transactions when you received a large amount of money and withdraw it from your account within a few days. It is also not necessary to withdraw the entire amount at once – break larger amounts of $ 50,000 into several parts with an interval of a week or two.
  • Document your actions. When possible, take screenshots of operations, personal account of the exchange, order for exchange in the exchanger, e-mails. If the support of the bank asks you to confirm the legality of the funds, you can ask them to compare the amounts and dates of transfers on the screenshots with the income to the account.
  • Sly. In the purpose of the payment, you can write "returned the debt" or "a gift from a relative", but this most likely will not work – often you have to prove receipt of such a "gift". However, if in the purpose of payment to write "cryptocurrency" banks will react to the transfer even more suspicious.
  • Try to pay taxes. This will not save from blocking, but it will help if the bank complains to you at the tax office.
  • Sell for cash upon meeting. The risks are obvious.

But even if you are as careful as possible, the bank can still block the account.

What to do if your account is still blocked?

Restrictions on any operations with the account will remain in effect until the account holder documents the sources of income and the information provided does not satisfy the controlling service of the bank and RosFinMonitoring.

  • Confirm the origin of funds. It is necessary to explain and prove the origin of the money received. But not everything is so simple. Amounts less than $ 200,000 can not be documented. For transfers above $ 200,000, you need to attach a contract and information on counterparties. Without such documents, the bank is unlikely to unlock the account. But, as a rule, there are no documents – the maximum is screenshots of transfers from exchanges or exchangers. Even documents from licensed sites may not satisfy the banks. If the supporting documents and the justification of the sources of funds do not suit the bank, the proceedings may be delayed indefinitely.
  • Cooperate with bank support. Popular point of view is that banks can use cryptocurrencies as a reason for taking money. In fact, banks do not need it. It is more profitable for them to keep you as their client, and they earn on commissions, account maintenance and loans. Accounts are blocked to play it safe. Therefore, cooperate with support and prove to them that you are a law-abiding citizen and have not violated anything.
  • To bring the situation to the maximum publicity. If your actions are legitimate, write a post in social networks or a note in the profile media. Banks do not like hype – the case of David Ohanian proves it.

What consequences can be after blocking a bank account?

Buying, owning and selling cryptocurrency is not prohibited. Therefore, for this there is no criminal or administrative punishment, but still not enough pleasant.

  • Loss of money and account closure. If banks do not like your explanation of the origin of funds, the money will not be returned to you: either they will send a transfer to the seller, or they will close the entire account and will be asked to transfer money to another bank, taking a commission of up to 15% for the transfer.
  • Hit in the black list of banks. The client who closed the account falls into the “black list”: it will be difficult for him to open an account and receive a card at other banks, and his operations will be monitored more carefully. If the bank or RosFinMonitoring is satisfied with your explanations, they will unblock your account and return all the money. But the problems on this, most likely, will not end.
  • Payment of taxes. You may be asked to prove that you paid taxes – 13% of the amount of the sale. If you do not have a paid declaration, you can find fault with you – you will have to pay a fine. The statute of limitation for tax crimes is 3 years, but usually for operations with small amounts older than one year they are not touched. How to pay taxes for the sale of the crypt nobody knows yet. By law, if you receive income, you must pay personal income tax. While there is no special law, the Ministry of Finance believes that there is no “special taxation procedure” for cryptocurrencies and the tax must be paid according to the general rules: calculate the income yourself and return the declaration. The tax must be paid on the amount for which the cryptocurrency was sold, not on the profit. For example, if you bought coins for 1000 rubles, and sold for 500, you will have to pay 13% from 500 rubles, even if you worked at a loss. If they sold for 1500, you will also have to pay 1,500 rubles from the full amount of the sale, and not just from 500 rubles of profit. In fact, it is not so easy to pass a declaration of income from the sale of cryptocurrency – not every tax will accept it.
  • Charges of illegal business. Another difficulty – you can be accused of illegal business activities. For this, criminal liability may already come under article 171 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, for which fines, arrest or forced labor are provided. There were cases when the tax did not accept declarations on cryptocurrency and informed investigators about actions with money substitutes. There are already the first real criminal cases related to the cryptocurrency trade.
  • Legal costs. If the bank does not return the funds, will have to sue. It is impossible to predict in advance the outcome of such a case – there is no regulatory mechanism – it all depends on the position and decision of a particular court. As far as we know, so far no one has reached the court in such matters. But Anna Tigeeva believes that going to court could "soften the position of the bank and speed up the decision on unlocking the account and returning the funds."

The essence of the problem is not in banks, but in the legislation of the Russian Federation

Officially, banks are neutral in relation to cryptocurrency. In practice, they are often reinsured in order to protect themselves from the claims of the regulator.

Until the detailed legislation is worked out, the withdrawal of money from the crypt to Fiat will remain a lottery in which it may be unlucky even if a small amount is transferred.

So far, no one imprisons or fines anyone, but the situation may change. Until the Central Bank changes its position, and the legislation does not have a clear definition of cryptocurrency and its regulatory schemes, the situation will not change.

Date of publication: 20.03.2019
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  • bitcoinBitcoin (BTC) $ 19,139.27
  • ethereumEthereum (ETH) $ 1,030.22
  • cardanoCardano (ADA) $ 0.445533
  • polkadotPolkadot (DOT) $ 6.82
  • litecoinLitecoin (LTC) $ 51.36
  • chainlinkChainlink (LINK) $ 6.09
  • stellarStellar (XLM) $ 0.106836
  • bitcoin-cashBitcoin Cash (BCH) $ 99.82