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Russia's Ministry of Labor has informed officials of federal and local government bodies they are prohibited from owning cryptocurrency and must dispose of any holdings.

A document, published on the Ministry's website and dated Dec. 16, 2020, indicates the directive is aimed at preventing corruption. The news was first reported by Russian crypto news outlet Forklog.

The letter states that public officials in Russia on the federal and local levels, including Bank of Russia board members and chairs of government-owned corporations as well their spouses and under-age children, are not allowed to own cryptocurrencies and any digital assets issued outside the country.

The letter refers to the law on digital assets that came into force in January. The law includes a number of amendments to other Russian laws, including one that prohibits government officials from opening accounts in foreign banks and buying financial instruments from foreign countries. This list now adds "digital assets issued in accordance with the foreign law and cryptocurrencies."

Government officials must divest themselves of any digital assets by April 1, 2021.

The rules for disclosure, however, are not that strict yet. Public officials don't have to report owning digital assets, along with other kinds of property, in their anti-corruption declarations for the year 2020 because this is the first year when the new law came into force.

It's not clear how many government officials in Russia might own cryptocurrencies because there have been no public reports on the matter.

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