Russia’s Central Bank Tightens Rules On Currency Exchange


Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

24th December, 2015


Starting next week in Russia, should one wish to exchange currencies, they will be greeted by a new way to prove ones identity. From December 27th, new rules will come into force  for the identification of banks’ clients, whereby the desire to buy or sell a few dollars is not considered sufficient grounds to be served using the simplified identification procedures in which the client simply has to show the cashier their passport. From now on, customers will have to fill in a questionnaire and, in general, follow a strictly prescribed procedure of law, according to the website

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As explained by a senior member of banking and finance practice of international law firm Noerr Cyril Lelchitsy, under the new rules the client’s identification for the exchange will have to follow the general rules under the law on combating the financing of terrorism. This means that it should include, for example, a customer risk assessment, customer profiling, updating client information and conducting other activities within the documented procedures.

No. 499-N, published in “the Bulletin of the Bank of Russia” on December 16, notes that when verifying the identifying of the customer, the Bank checks the information systems of  the public authorities and Pension Fund of the Russian Federation, the register of individual entrepreneurs databases and lost or invalid passports, as well as checking the information about the possible involvement of the client to extremism and terrorism.

The press-release on the website of Central Bank explained that the new rules were adopted in accordance with the requirements of the Federal law “On countering the legalization (laundering) of incomes received in a criminal manner, and the financing of terrorism”.

According to experts interviewed after’s application of the new rules, clients will have to spend more time on exchanges, so each transaction will take much longer. The burden on employees of credit institutions will rise, so banks will begin to close the points of exchanging cash currency, advising customers to carry out foreign exchange transactions through Internet banks and other non-cash channels.

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