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Turkey adds cryptocurrency firms to terror funding, money laundering regulations

Cryptocurrencies are in increasing demand in Turkey amid a falling lira and rising inflation [Getty]

Date of publication: 1 May, 2021

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The announcement comes as Turkey plans to tax cryptocurrency transactions and assets.
Turkey has added cryptocurrency trading platforms to its list of firms falling under anti-money laundering and terrorism financing regulation, according to a presidential decree.

Turkey's official gazette said on Saturday the country’s latest expansion of rules will take immediate effect and cover “crypto asset service providers”, which would be liable to the existing regulations, Reuters reported.

The move comes as Turkey intends to tax cryptocurrency transactions and assets, with cryptocurrencies becoming deemed as assets or goods under Turkish law in the next few weeks, the Daily Sabah reported on Monday.

Last month, Turkey’s central bank banned the use of crypto assets for payments on the grounds such transactions were too risky.

Two Turkey-based cryptocurrency trading platforms, Thodex and Vebitcoin, were subsequently halted under separate investigations. 

Six suspects linked to the Thodex probe were jailed on Friday pending trial.

The investigation into Thodex, which handled daily trades of hundreds of millions of dollars, initially led to the arrests of 83 people after customers complained of not being able to access their funds.

Interpol issued a detention warrant for the firm’s founder, Faruk Fatih Ozer, who is sought by Turkish authorities after he fled to Albania last week, holding a reported $2 billion in investors' assets.

People in Turkey have increasingly flocked towards cryptocurrencies following the decline of the Turkish lira and double-digit inflation.

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