A Russian government official, Marat Tambiev, allegedly collected $28 million in Bitcoin bribes from a hacker group he was investigating.
Local media Kommersant first reported the incident and described it as the country’s most significant single bribery case.
Over 1,000 BTC in Bribes
Prosecutors first caught wind of the Bitcoin bribes when investigating a criminal allegation of corruption against him. They found that he is the owner of 1,032.1 BTC.
According to investigations, Mr. Tambiev got the cryptocurrency on April 7, 2022, from Infraud Organization Mark hacker group members. At the time, he was investigating members of the group. He got paid in exchange for not seizing their assets.
Tambiev is the head of an investigative department for the Committee for the Tver district of Moscow and received these funds from hackers while in that role. His corruption led to the termination of his employment.
Russians Crypto Usage on the Ascendancy
Russia is one of the many countries actively considering crypto regulation amid its growing adoption rate and usage.
The country recently canceled plans to establish a national crypto exchange and would instead focus on regulating such platforms. The Head of the State Duma Committee on the financial market, Anatoly Aksakov, noted that the country would formulate rules to establish such crypto exchanges.
One of the largest banks in Russia, Rosbank, recently completed cross-border transactions in cryptocurrency. This follows the Russian central bank’s attempt to allow crypto’s use for international settlements. Russia has leaned towards crypto since Western countries heavily sanctioned it following its invasion of Ukraine.
Additionally, Russia was the second largest Bitcoin miner after the US within the first three months of this year. According to the report, mining activities in the country enjoy government support as the authorities look to subsidize a new 100-megawatt mining center in eastern Siberia.
Despite these positive moves, crypto cannot be used as a form of payment within the country. In July 2022, President Putin banned using digital assets as a payment method for goods and services.