Belgium Wants to Confront Use of Bitcoin for Money Laundering

News and Analysis

The government of Belgium has tasked the country’s tax authorities to investigate possible fraud and money-laundering schemes involving bitcoin.

According to local publication De Morgen, the authorities are especially interested in retail stores accepting cryptocurrency.

“The tax department is considering the bitcoin. There will be a battle plan to combat fraud,” reads the publication.

There are over 70 stores accepting bitcoin in Belgium. The cryptocurrency becomes increasingly popular in payments for medical and recreation services. Local online commerce also gradually embraces bitcoin.

However, the government emphasized that banning bitcoin operations altogether is out of question as yet. The recent activities, the government states, are focused on fighting the crime, and the government sees no difference between fiat and virtual money in this regard.

Francis Adyns, spokesperson for the Belgian Ministry of finance, said:

“More and more ordinary shops including restaurants, retailers and even car salesmen accept bitcoin. In October last year the European Court of Justice ruled also that no VAT is payable on bitcoin transactions. This was made “clear that bitcoins are accepted here.”

Last year, similar investigation carried out by the Belgian authorities resulted in seizure of 1.100 BTC, which the government still owns.

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