Ex-hockey winger Igor Musatov gets arrested for crypto fraud

Maria Nikolova

A Moscow court has ordered that Musatov stays detained for a month over $800,000 crypto fraud.

Russian authorities continue to target virtual currency scams with the latest person to become a target in an enforcement action related to such activities being ice hockey player Igor Musatov. According to a report by Russian information agency TASS, a Moscow Court on Monday ordered that Musatov stays detained for a month over $800,000 cryptocurrency fraud.

Igor Musatov

In the courtroom, Musatov said the criminal proceedings against him were the result of a misunderstanding. He claimed he was ready to show evidence that he is innocent.

Igor Musatov (born September 23, 1987) is a former professional ice hockey winger. He last played for Slovakian club, HC Slovan Bratislava of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).

The legal status of cryptocurrencies in Russia remains undefined. The Russian lawmakers have been working on the relevant piece of legislation for several years but nothing firm has been implemented yet. In the meantime, the Russian authorities are trying to prosecute fraudsters in the area of virtual currencies. For instance, in April 2018, two Russian men, born in 1993, have been charged with fraud and sentenced over stealing BTC-e codes from online forum users. Each of the men got a suspended prison sentence of 2 years and 6 months, the police said in its announcement.

Earlier in 2019, the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) released the results of a survey dedicated to cryptocurrencies. The survey, conducted among 1,600 respondents above 18 years of age, indicated that the hype around cryptos in Russia is subsiding.

The actual knowledge about Bitcoin is relatively poor. For example, among those who have heard of Bitcoin, 37% are confident that anyone can get Bitcoins, whereas 12% believe Bitcoins are banned in Russia. Another controversial finding is that 28% of the respondents believe it is harder to steal digital currencies when compared to typical currencies, whereas 29% insist that it is easier to steal digital currencies than “normal” currencies.

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