New penalties for banks and mobile phone operators

article 21/03/2022

From 27.02.2022 the Federal Law dated 16.02.2022 No. 8-FZ put into effect Article 15.48 of the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offences on administrative liability for money transfer to illegal online gamble services e. g. casinos, lotteries and betting pools.

Banks, payment systems, postal and mobile phone operators who take and transfer money to companies from the List of suspicious organizations by the Federal Tax Service are the subjects of the new regulations. Work in this direction keeps going on for several years. In 2007 activities of the illegal online casinos and lotteries except betting pools and bets were prohibited. In 2018 were prohibited money transfers to this kind of organizations including foreign ones. The Federal Tax Service is eligible to skip judicial authorities and block websites who fulfill this kind of payments.

For violation of the new requirements of the amendment following fines are applied:

  • for officials (including credit institutions) - from 100,000 to 500,000 RUB,
  • for legal entities - from 25% to 40% of the taken payment, but no more than 5 million RUB.

During the development bill draft was criticized by lawyers of the banking sector. They noted that changes will duplicate provisions of the Federal Law "On countering the legislation of illegal earnings (money laundering) and the financing of terrorism" dated 07.08.2001 No. 115-FZ. According to this document banks are prohibited to proceed suspicious transactions to the organizations from the black list of the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications. Online casinos and lotteries could be also included in this list. Actually after these rules came into force on 13.07.2021 banks started to complain in large numbers not only on the authority's website freezing, but also on difficulty of web address identification of the prohibited organizations. As a result the Central Bank of the Russian Federation suggested to abandon imposition of sanctions on banks who violated these legislative requirements until April 2022.

New amendments also have some rough edges. Some questions are still a legislative gap. By what will guided payment intermediators when correlating payee and organizations from the Federal Tax Service list. As well as on what ground will they refuse a customer to proceed with such kind of payments. Moreover, the question remains: will there be a "double" penalty for offenders of the new payment rules in virtue of forthcoming amendments and adopted rules in 115-FZ.