In a case where two Russian citizens extorted more than 55 million rubles (close to $1 million) in digital assets and 5 million rubles (almost $90,000) in cash from a man— the court trial has led to a passive recognition of crypto as a mode of payment. As per Russian business news portal RBC, the St. Petersburg City Court has recognized cryptocurrency as a means of payment. Prosecutors usually refer to court rulings first while representing a client or the state, however, the Moscow government is yet to decide on the legal status of Bitcoin.

Pyotr Piron, one of the perpetrators, was introduced to the victim named G.A. Shemet. He introduced himself as an officer from the Federal Security Service (FSB) and threatened him by claiming he could face legal problems ahead if he did not bow to his extortion demands. He demanded money in the form of fiat and digital currency.

G.A. did not believe Pyotr was a federal officer and refused to pay him any money. Yevgeny Prigozhin, a former employee of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs tagged along with Pyotr as per his statements to this police. Both of them jointly told G.A. that an investigation would initiate for the alleged illegal circulation of cryptocurrency.

This is not the first time these two have been found involved in something like this. In 2018, the duo extorted money from a person by threatening to torture him if he doesn’t pay up. The crypto involved in this criminal trial was not taken into account, it even said that it is not a means of payment ”on the territory of the Russian Federation,” hence it was not an object of civil rights and ‘subject’ of a crime.

Following an appeal, the other court declared that the cryptocurrency can be viewed as a means of payment and returned the case to the initial court. Without changing the prison terms of the respondents, the city court gave another verdict, adding the digital cash.

The improvement comes after last month, a district court in St. Petersburg permitted enforcement officers to seize stolen cryptocurrency in another criminal case. Authorities had been ordered to raid and seize two dozen crypto wallets of a suspect, holding 1 billion rubles in Ethereum.

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