District Judge Alvin K. The U. The potential mandatory minimum and maximum sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
According to the allegations contained in the superseding indictment, other court filings, and statements made during court proceedings:. Maduro Moros and the other charged Cartel members abused the Venezuelan people and corrupted the legitimate institutions of Venezuela—including parts of the military, intelligence apparatus, legislature, and the judiciary—to facilitate the importation of tons of cocaine into the United States. By approximately , the U. Department of State estimated that or more tons of cocaine were transiting Venezuela per year.
Air shipments were often dispatched from clandestine airstrips, typically made of dirt or grass, concentrated in the Apure State. According to the U. This case is being handled by the U. Assistant U. Attorneys Amanda L. Houle, Matthew J. Laroche, Jason A. Richman, and Kyle A. Wirshba are in charge of the prosecution. The indictment alleges that from March until May , Padrino Lopez conspired with others to distribute cocaine on board an aircraft registered in the United States.
Padrino Lopez, who holds the rank of General in the Venezuelan armed forces, held the authority for interdicting aircraft, many of which are registered in the United States, suspected of being used to traffic drugs from Venezuela to countries in Central America. On numerous occasions, Padrino Lopez ordered or authorized the Venezuelan military to force suspected trafficking aircraft to land or to shoot down the aircraft.
However, Padrino Lopez allowed for other aircraft whose drug trafficking coordinators paid bribes to him to safely transit Venezuelan airspace. On Sept. Maikel Jose Moreno Perez, 54, current Chief Justice of the Venezuelan Supreme Court, was charged via a criminal complaint in the Southern District of Florida with conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering in connection with the alleged corrupt receipt or intended receipt of tens of millions of dollars and bribes to illegally fix dozens of civil and criminal cases in Venezuela.
Similarly, the complaint alleges that the defendant received bribes to authorize the dismissal of charges or release against Venezuelans, including one charged in a multibillion-dollar fraud scheme against the Venezuelan state-owned oil company. According to the criminal complaint, in or around October , Moreno Perez told U. Attorney Michael N. Berger of the Southern District of Florida is in charge of the prosecution.
Attorneys Sam Adelsberg and Amanda L. Houle are in charge of the prosecution. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. The year marks the th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Because all nodes share this task equally, cryptocurrency transactions can take place without the need for a central oversight. The petro differs significantly from other popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Dashcoin, and Litecoin that circulate widely.
Rather than avoid centralized control over the market, the petro is subject to arbitrary discount factor adjustment, fluctuating oil prices, and a corrupt government known for manipulating its currency. Foreign investors exclusively funded the presale; this rapid influx of capital could not have occurred by conventional means as Venezuela is subject to international sanctions. Because the government only accepts euros, dollars, Bitcoin, or Ethereum in exchange for petros, but has banned the circulation of foreign currencies, Venezuelan citizens cannot purchase the petro.
Consequently, Venezuelans experiencing the brunt of economic instability will see no relief from the cryptocurrency. It is unclear what if any use the petro has for foreign speculators. The petro whitepaper limits its use to Venezuelan citizens for the payments of taxes, fees, and public services.
The petro cannot stabilize the Venezuelan economy and instead exists to create foreign currency reserves from thin air. Venezuela sets a dangerous example with the petro. Developers of legitimate cryptocurrencies prioritize decentralized, secure, and transparent transactions. Instead, this cryptocurrency presale provides no real service for its international holders, and the worst is still yet to come.
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Related Articles. Bitcoin Top Cryptocurrency Myths. Bitcoin Why Is Bitcoin Volatile? Partner Links. Petro gold was a cryptocurrency announced by the Venezuela government in early What Was TradeHill Exchange? TradeHill Exchange, also known as TradeHill, was a cryptocurrency exchange that was active from to In Switzerland, cryptocurrencies and exchanges are legal and the country has adopted a remarkably progressive stance towards cryptocurrency regulations.
Cryptocurrency regulations in Switzerland are also in place for ICOs, and FINMA applies existing financial legislation to offerings in a range of fields — from banking, to securities trading and collective investment schemes depending on the structure. The DLT Act included a new type of license category for cryptocurrency trading venues. In , the Swiss Federal Council voted in favor of a proposal to further adapt existing financial regulations to cryptocurrencies in order to address their illegal use.
Cryptocurrencies are broadly considered legal across the European Union, but cryptocurrency exchange regulations are different in individual member states. In , the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that exchanges of traditional currency for cryptocurrency should be exempt from VAT. In December , 6AMLD came into effect: the directive made cryptocurrency compliance more stringent by adding cybercrime to the list of money laundering predicate offenses.
Cryptocurrency exchanges are not currently regulated at a regional level. Authorizations and licenses granted by these regulators can then passport exchanges, allowing them to operate under a single regime across the entire bloc. Under the directive, liability for money laundering offenses is extended to legal persons as well as individuals, meaning that the leadership employees of cryptocurrency wallet providers and cryptocurrency exchanges must exercise much greater oversight of their internal AML controls.
The EU is actively exploring further cryptocurrency regulations. An EU draft document expressed concerns about the risks associated with private digital currencies and confirmed that the European Central Bank was considering the possibility of issuing its own digital currency. The proposal set out draft regulatory measures for cryptocurrencies including the introduction of a new licensing system for crypto-asset issuers, industry conduct rules, and new consumer protections.
In July , the European Commission published a set of legislative proposals with consequences for virtual asset service providers VASP across the bloc. The proposals will see transfer of fund regulations TFR extended to all VASPs in the EU, and will mandate the collection of information about senders and recipients of cryptocurrency transfers. Malta has taken a very progressive approach to cryptocurrencies, positioning itself as a global leader in crypto regulation.
The legislation comprised several bills, including the Virtual Financial Assets Act VFA which set a global precedent by establishing a regulatory regime applicable to crypto exchanges, ICOs, brokers, wallet providers, advisers, and asset managers. The VFA regulations effective November were accompanied by the Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Act which established the regime for the future registration, and accountability, of crypto service providers.
The Malta Digital Innovation Authority was also established: the MDIA is the government authority responsible for creating crypto policy, collaborating with other nations and organizations, and enforcing ethical standards for the use of crypto and blockchain technology. The Maltese government has also indicated that it will turn its focus to the integration of AI with cryptocurrency regulation and may implement specific guidelines for security token offerings.
With those strategies in mind, additional Maltese regulations are likely in the near future. Cryptocurrency regulations in Estonia are open and innovative , especially in comparison to other EU member-states. Accordingly, it classifies them as digital assets for tax purposes but does not subject them to VAT. In , the Anti Money Laundering and Terrorism Finance Act introduced robust new regulations for crypto businesses operating in Estonia. Cryptocurrency exchanges are legal in Estonia and operate under a well-defined regulatory framework that includes strict reporting and KYC rules.
In , the Estonian government passed legislation tightening licensing requirements and went further in , asserting that virtual currency service providers would be treated the same manner as financial institutions under the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act. In late , the Estonian government revoked over 1, operating licenses after legislative amendments rendered many cryptocurrency service providers non-compliant with regulations. The draft bill created fears that Estonia was banning private ownership of cryptocurrencies, and prompted the government to issue a press release in January clarifying that the law would only apply to private wallets issued by VASPs.
Gibraltar is a global leader in cryptocurrency regulation. Cryptocurrency is not considered legal tender in the country but cryptocurrency exchanges are legal and operate within a well-defined regulatory framework. Gibraltar has a reputation as a low taxation environment : it does not impose capital gains or dividend tax on cryptocurrencies, and crypto exchanges are subject to a business-friendly In September , Gibraltar updated its DLT framework regulations to better align with FATF recommendations, taking into account the higher risk factors associated with some virtual asset instruments.
In , Gibraltar convened a Market Integrity working group to further define appropriate market standards for cryptocurrency exchanges in coordination with standards set by other jurisdictions such as the UK and the EU. If sanctioned by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission , the move would pave the way for a fully-regulated exchange dealing in both fiat and digital currencies. In , authorities issued advice on the tax treatment of cryptocurrencies which, in a business context, depends on the type of transaction involved.
Following those statements, in early lawmakers passed legislation that gave blockchain technology transactions the same legal status as those executed using traditional methods. Cryptocurrency exchanges in Luxembourg are regulated by the CSSF and new crypto businesses must obtain a payments institutions license if they wish to begin trading.
In Latin America, cryptocurrency regulations run the legislative spectrum. Those countries with harsher regulations include Bolivia which has comprehensively banned cryptocurrencies and exchanges , and Ecuador which has issued a ban on the circulation of all cryptocurrencies apart from the government-issued SDE token in operation from to By contrast, in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and Chile, cryptocurrencies are commonly accepted as payment by retail outlets and merchants.
For tax purposes, cryptocurrencies are often treated as assets. They are broadly subject to capital gains tax across the region while transactions in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile are also subject to income tax in some contexts. In September , El Salvador became the first country in Latin America to make Bitcoin legal tender, issuing a government digital wallet app, and allowing consumers to use the tokens in all transactions alongside payments with the US dollar.
Cryptocurrency exchange regulations in Latin America are sparse. Many countries have no specific laws governing the trade of cryptocurrencies and so, beyond the scope of existing legislation, do not regulate exchanges. The lack of regulation combined with high adoption rates has made Latin America an attractive option for businesses looking to capitalize on the interest in virtual currencies.
Subsequent court rulings have offered protection to these exchanges for the time being but it is clear that more definitive guidelines are needed. In contrast to other Latin American countries, Mexico does, to an extent, regulate cryptocurrency exchanges through the Law to Regulate Financial Technology Companies. The law extends Mexican AML regulations to cryptocurrency services providers by imposing a variety of registration and reporting requirements.
Many Latin American countries have expressed concern about the effect of cryptocurrencies on financial stability — and about their money laundering risks. Beyond issuing official warnings , however, most financial authorities across the region have yet to reveal plans for any significant future cryptocurrency regulations.
Some exceptions have emerged: Chile, for example, introduced draft cryptocurrency legislation in April but has offered scant detail on the legislation since, or how it will function if it comes into effect. Mexico has also announced plans to release its own digital currency by , seeking to take advantage of advances in payment technology to promote financial inclusion. In , in coordination with crypto exchanges, Colombia introduced a sandbox test environment for cryptocurrencies in order to help firms try out their business models in respect of draft legislation.
Want to meet and exceed the expectations of regulators around the world? Find out how ComplyAdvantage works with crypto businesses here. Disclaimer: This is for general information only. The information presented does not constitute legal advice. ComplyAdvantage accepts no responsibility for any information contained herein and disclaims and excludes any liability in respect of the contents or for action taken based on this information. Request Demo Login.
Download now. The content in this article was last updated in February United States Cryptocurrencies: Not considered legal tender Cryptocurrency exchanges: Legal, regulation varies by state While it is difficult to find a consistent legal approach at the state level, the US continues to progress in developing federal cryptocurrency legislation. Future Regulation The US Treasury has emphasized an urgent need for crypto regulations to combat global and domestic criminal activities.
Canada Cryptocurrencies: Not legal tender Cryptocurrency exchanges: Legal, required to register with FinTRAC after June 1, Cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in Canada but can be used to buy goods and services online or in stores that accept them. Exchanges After an amendment to the PCMLTFA in , exchanges in Canada are essentially regulated in the same way as money services businesses and are subject to the same due diligence and reporting obligations.
Future Regulation While regulations are constantly evolving, there are no signs of significant additional legislation on the horizon. Singapore Cryptocurrencies: Not legal tender Cryptocurrency exchanges: Legal, registration with the Monetary Authority of Singapore required In Singapore, cryptocurrency exchanges and trading are legal, and the city-state has taken a friendlier position on the issue than some of its regional neighbors. Exchanges MAS has generally taken an accommodating approach to cryptocurrency exchange regulation, applying existing legal frameworks where possible.
Australia Cryptocurrencies: Legal, treated as property Cryptocurrency exchanges: Legal, must register with AUSTRAC Cryptocurrencies and exchanges are legal in Australia, and the country has been progressive in its implementation of cryptocurrency regulations. Exchanges Cryptocurrency exchange regulations in Japan are similarly progressive. South Korea Cryptocurrencies: Not legal tender Cryptocurrency Exchanges: Legal, must register with FSS In South Korea, cryptocurrencies are not considered legal tender and exchanges, while legal, are part of a closely-monitored regulatory system.
Exchanges In June , China banned all domestic cryptocurrency mining , and followed-up by outlawing cryptocurrencies outright in September
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The petro, or petromoneda, launched in February , is a cryptocurrency issued by the government of Venezuela. The petro (₽), or petromoneda, launched in February , is a cryptocurrency issued by the Maduro stated that the petro would allow Venezuela to "advance in issues. President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday decreed that airlines flying from Caracas must pay for fuel in Venezuela's ailing "petro" cryptocurrency.