Read the criminal policy for the crime of money laundering through digital currencies

Zaim bin Nasser Al-Shuaibi – Master’s Researcher at Sultan Qaboos University Faculty of Law

The criminal offense of money laundering represents a threat to states in their economic, financial and social spheres, and is counted among criminal offenses of a special nature because it belongs to transnational organized crime. In light of this, countries have rushed to pass laws to curb this type of activity, and in this article we will address some of the legal rules related to the criminalization of this type of activity in the digital realm.
The Sultanate of Oman has been a pioneer in this regard by taking a step forward in the fight against this type of crime affecting the national economy by issuing the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act in Royal Decree No. (34/2002), after which he issued subsequent amendments in two decrees: Royal Decree (79/2010) and Royal Decree no. (30/2016) in order to be more comprehensive and cover new aspects that were not covered by the previous law. The law under study touched upon; On the nature and forms of acts that would be considered criminal acts of money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as the obligations and actions of financial and non-financial institutions, associations and non-profit institutions in connection with the application of controls and provisions Law.
The legislator of Oman has set a special definition of funds as the object of a criminal offense in Article (1) of the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism, which refers to the funds that are the subject of a criminal offense as: “any type of property or property, regardless of its value , the nature or method of acquisition, whatever it may be.” Its form is electronic or digital, whether located in the Sultanate of Oman or outside it, and all profits or interests arising or distributed therefrom in whole or in part, including domestic and foreign currency, financial and commercial records, real estate, tangible or intangible movable property and all rights or interests in connection with it, and instruments and documents that prove all of the above, as well as bank loans, deposits, postal transfers, bank transfers, letters of credit or anything that the commission considers to be money in the sense of this law. In the same article, the criminal offense of money laundering is defined in relation to the offenses from Article 6 of the same law, which read exclusively as follows:
“Any person, whether the perpetrator of a previous criminal offense or another person, who intentionally commits one of the following actions, even though he knows, must have known or suspected that the funds are the proceeds of a criminal offense:
a- The exchange or transfer of funds with the intention of concealing or disguising the nature and source of such illegal gains, or assisting a person who has committed a previous criminal offense to avoid punishment.
b- Disguising or concealing the true nature, source, location, disposition, movement, ownership or rights associated with funds.
C- Possession, possession or use of funds when received.
Through the previous text, we see that the legislator included property or assets, regardless of their value or nature, that is, regardless of whether they are in traditional form or in digital form, within the framework of the nature of funds. , and the same applies to all profits or interests that come from these funds. due or distributed, as is the case in digital currency trading platforms as the subject of this trading, which are encrypted currencies of unknown nature and unknown source, and trading that takes place in a blockchain system of complete confidentiality in terms of non-disclosure of the names of traders, wallet holders or owners currency, and not the possibility of tracking the source of the currency purchase process in order to determine the legality of transactions or not, which makes it possible to consider the existence of criminal suspicion for the criminal offense of money laundering, and here we are talking about the nature of the method used for this type of purchase and sale business.
Recently, a new pattern of money laundering has emerged, which is the trading of digital currencies through the proceeds of money laundering and transferring them to several accounts in order to avoid knowing the source of these funds, and sometimes creating new digital currencies for this purpose, but most countries, including The Sultanate has an explicit and firm position on the issue of the illegality of digital currencies, since cryptocurrencies are not accepted and guaranteed cash according to the Law on Banks (114/2000) in the Sultanate, and are not regulated as a means of payment by the Law on Payment Transactions in the Country (8/2018) .
Some people have fallen into the trap of suspicious money laundering operations, which the Central Bank of Oman has warned of fraudulent operations carried out by some trading platforms to collect money as a result of buying and selling encrypted digital currencies, and since From this point of view, legal issues have arisen about the legitimacy of these platforms and the financial transactions carried out from them, and to what extent there is a special legal organization that deals with these currencies on the one hand, and on the other hand, to what extent the criminally responsible persons who trade currencies and these transactions were the source of illegal actions, according to Article 6 of the Law on Prevention of Money Laundering, the perpetrator For the criminal offense of money laundering whenever other elements are present.
And based on Article 21 of the Law on Suppression of Information Crime, which placed a person in traffic in the circle of criminalization; If it is established that he transferred or transferred illegal funds, concealed or concealed their source, or acquired or possessed funds or property with knowledge or should have known or suspected their illegal source.
Among the Arab practical experiences that have emerged in the fight against this criminal activity is Saudi Arabia, which has formed a department called (Department of Banking Inspection) “to analyze bitcoins through strict guidelines and supervision to gain insight into the methods of criminals who they are working to hide their illegal returns.” There are many countries that face real difficulties and problems in dealing with this type of currency, since it has no official authority, legal cover or tangible value, so society will be a victim of electronic gangs, especially in poor countries, which cannot stand up on their own these crimes, they should already join together in organizations and central banks.
Finally, the problems of combating the crime of money laundering through digital currencies remain and are the subject of continuous research and development in the legislative systems of countries, where the biggest problem in this type of crime remains proving the crime. their supervision, in addition to making it difficult to prove the moral element, because participation in digital currency platforms in itself is not sufficient for the existence of criminal intent in the crime of money laundering, even if these currencies are not recognized as official currency.

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