On Tuesday, November 3 a court-warranted search was conducted in the house of the head of Bitcoin Foundation Ukraine, Michael Chobanian under the camera flashes. Among other things, the Ukrainian militsiya have confiscated an illustrated booklet called "About Bitcoin." Michael Chobanian spoke with Cointelegraph about the operation, and according to him, the actual goal of the search was self-promotion and professional advancement: apparently, the militsiya, which has kept its name from the Soviet times, is a less prestigious organisation than the newly formed cyber police, and the people involved in the case are looking to use it as a springboard to impress their superiors and advance to the ranks of police. Chobanian also told us, that the advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Anton Gerashchenko was shocked to learn about these events.
"Unscrupulous policemen of Ukraine who were working on the case decided to use Bitcoin to achieve a certain PR effect and get themselves enlisted in the Cyber Police of Ukraine. It is a new emerging state agency, that is planned to take care of cyber security cases instead of the regular police. Bitcoin is a good and popular ground to use this new agency on,” sums up Michael Chobanian, who is not only the leader of Bitcoin Foundation Ukraine but also the owner of the Bitcoin exchange Kuna.
“Had they actually wanted to find evidence of Bitcoin use, they would have acted in a very different way. They would have tried to catch the suspect in the act".
According to Chobanian, he is in contact about the case with his major partners in the government of Ukraine. The Foundation and its government associates have been jointly developing the Bitcoin ecosystem in the country, and they are shocked by what is going on right now. They promised to help Chobanian deal with it.
- Michael Chobanian
The Ukraine is starting to get serious about Bitcoin
Tomorrow, this topic will be discussed at a press conference. The Foundation has invited representatives from the Bitcoin community, the Banking Association of Ukraine, and from the government bodies that are involved in the development of the Bitcoin ecosystem in Ukraine. The search of Chobanyan’s property was first reported on his page on Facebook in the night between 3 and 4 November.
The search was carried out by the representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to "combat cyber crime" and it was backed by the decision of the court "Shenchenkovskiy". The court case has been active for a whole year: it was first filed on Nov. 30, 2014. Apparently, the right hand doesn't know what the left one is doing, as one part of the government is developing Bitcoin in Ukraine, and another one is hampering the progress.
Despite this adversity, the existing Bitcoin community is working closely with the National Bank, the banking industry, lawyers, media and the general public to form a legal and economic framework for Bitcoin in Ukraine. Several meetings have been held with the heads of departments of the nation’s Central Bank and regulation drafts are being prepared, including legislative initiatives that will formalize Bitcoin provisions and regulations.