Sept 16, 2014
Update (17th September 3:00 BST): A full translation of the statement from the Bangladesh Bank has been added to the piece.
The Bangladesh Bank, as originally reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), has said that the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is unlawful under existing anti-money laundering (AML) statutes.
The Bangladesh Bank noted in its advisory that harsh penalties could be imposed on those who use digital currencies, saying:
“Bitcoin is not a legal tender of any country. Any transaction through bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency is a punishable offense.”
AFP also reportedly spoke to a representative from the bank, who said that the act of using a digital currency could be punishable by as much as 12 years in prison.
Bangladesh recently enacted Money Laundering Prevention Act, 2012, a revision of a 2009 law that aimed to bring the country’s AML policies up to global standards.
Popularity leads to announcement
Notably, the bank’s decision to outlaw digital currency transactions derived from increasing reports in the local media regarding the use of bitcoin by domestic residents.
May 5, 2013
Several people were injured after hardline Islamic activists calling for the enactment of an anti-blasphemy law clashed with Bangladesh police. The Bangladeshi government has rejected the demand, saying the country is governed by secular liberal laws. Hefajat-e-Islam, a newly formed group, organised the protest. “The main aim of this protest is to press for the implementation of the 13-point demand by Hefajat-e-Islam as per the direction of the Quran,” said Hefejat activist Hossain Soliman Abdullah. The protesters also rallied against bloggers who support secularism, and demanded capital punishment for them.
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