Russian news agency, Tass have reported that a new set of measures with respect to the development of Russian offshores, will impact on digital assets. The Russian Ministry of Economic Development is reportedly engaged on a third set of measures for the development of Russian offshores, where companies are exempt from paying taxes and have the opportunity to work with looser regulations.
In August 2018, the State Duma of the Russian Federation endorsed a package of laws designed to create “offshore” zones on Russian territory. Under these laws, special administrative regions (SAR) were created in Kaliningrad (Oktyabrsky Island) and in Vladivostok (Russky Island). Entrepreneurs operating in the zones would be able to obtain the status of an international business company, and the Russian government hoped to attract foreign investment.
However, the United States had imposed sanctions against several of Russia’s wealthiest businessmen and their companies, and on a slew of high-ranking government officials, reportedly causing Russia’s richest people to lose a total of about $16 billion in one day. It is alleged that the offshores were a way to back Russian companies who were affected by the sanctions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said at the time that the Kremlin backed efforts to mitigate the effect of the sanctions package, which he called “egregious in its lawlessness”.
Deputy Minister of Financial Improvement of Russia, Ilya Torosov said that they are working on exemptions of ships registered in the Russian Maritime Register Of Ships that are owned by residents of the SAR. He continued: “We are also discussing lower insurance premium rates, liberalization of labour legislation in respect of members of ships’ crew. Plus – features of the regulation of digital assets”.
Mr Torosov refused to offer details of any timeframe.
Prince’s Charity Received Laundered Money
Meanwhile, a charity run by Prince Charles, received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from a company based in the British Virgin Islands that was used to launder money siphoned out of Russia. Between 2009 and 2011 the Prince’s Charity Fund received three payments, adding up to $202,000 via a now-defunct bank in Lithuania.
A report, by the nonprofit Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and the Lithuanian website 15min, uncovered that a vast network of at least 75 offshore companies allowed friends and allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian criminals and oligarchs, to move money overseas and launder the funds later.
It has been happening for years, although it is unclear whether the charity were aware of the money’s origin. Laundered funds and legitimate money are likely to have been mixed, making it almost impossible to trace anything.