Russian Official Accused Of Accepting $28 Million Bitcoin Bribe: Scandal Unfolds

A recent report by Local media Kommersant disclosed that Russian regulators uncovered a Bitcoin bribe of 1,032.1 BTC worth $28 million at the current market price. 

Notably, a government official Marat Tambiev allegedly collected the bribe from hacker group members under his investigation. According to Kommersant, the bribe is now the most significant single bribery case Russia has ever recorded. 

Russian Prosecutors Clamp Down On Marat Tambiev

Tambiev headed the investigative department for the Tver district of the Moscow Committee of the ICR. And before uncovering the BTC bribes, the Russian prosecutors were investigating Marat Tambiev for allegations of corrupt practices. During the investigations, they discovered Tambiev had 1,032.1 BTC in his custody.

The prosecutors had searched Tambiev’s apartment on Bolshaya Ochakovskata Street in Moscow. During the search, they discovered an Apple MacBook Pro laptop containing a picture of a paper with codes to access BTC coins. 

Further digging revealed the official received the Bitcoin on April 7, 2022, from a hacker group, “Infraud Organization”.

Mark, Konstantin Bergmanov, and Kirill Samokutyaevsky were being investigated by Marat Tambiev investigations for criminal acts and Tambiev reportedly collected the bribe from them in exchange for not seizing their assets during his investigations.

As a result of these bribes, plus other allegations of corrupt practices, the investigative department terminated Tambiev’s appointment.

Also, by the Basmanny Court decision, the investigator seized the Bitcoina and transferred it to a hardware wallet in the storage room for the TFR physical evidence.  

Russian Crypto Usage And Regulation

Russia has seen increased crypto use following the sanctions by the US and other countries. According to Tripple A, over 14.6 million Russians now own cryptocurrency. 

Amongst the available crypto assets, Ethereum is the highest-owned asset by 32% of the holders. Bitcoin is in the second position, owned by 30.8% of crypto holders in Russia.

Other coins owned by Russians include Solana, Ripple, and Dogecoin. Also, Russia’s crypto ownership has more women than men, and 59.1% of owners are between 18-34.

Russian Official Accused of Accepting $28M Bitcoin Bribe: Scandal Unfolds

As a result of the increasing crypto ownership, the Russian government planned to launch crypto exchanges in Q2 of 2023. But on May 29, a local news outlet reported that plans for the exchanges had been canceled. 

According to the report, the Russian government now plans to regulate crypto exchanges. Notably, the State Duma Committee on the financial market head Anatoly Aksakov disclosed the country’s plans to formulate rules to guide the establishment of crypto exchanges. 

Other evidence of Russian exposure to crypto includes the government’s support for Bitcoin mining, placing it in the second position after the US in 2023. 

In another development, a top Russian bank Rosbank completed its first cross-border crypto transaction after the Russian Central Bank hinted at allowing cryptocurrency for international settlements.

Featured image from Pixabay and chart from Pixabay

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