Parliament endorses amendments toughening punishment for illegal currency exchange operations

09/03/2016 14:57
Avaz Yuldoshev
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DUSHANBE, March 9, 2016, Asia-Plus /Avaz Yuldoshev/ -- Tajikistan has toughened punishment for illegal hard-currency exchange operations.

Majlisi Namoyandagon (Tajikistan’s lower chamber of parliament) today endorsed amendments proposing to toughen punishment for illegal hard-currency exchange operations.

Speaking at the session, Jamoliddin Nouraliyev, the first deputy head of the National bank of Tajikistan (NBT), noted that the amendments were aimed at protecting interests of the population and ensuring development of the country’s economy under conditions of the global financial and economic crisis.      

“Pricing of more than 67 percent of commodities imported into Tajikistan depends on the exchange rate of the national currency, the somoni, against the dollar,” Nouraliyev said

The move's aim is reportedly to curb illegal speculation with hard currency that led to the abrupt devaluation of the Tajik national currency, the somoni.

The amendments, which are offered by the government, in particular, provide for introducing jail terms of up to nine years for illegal hard-currency exchange operations.

Thus, the amendments offered to Article 286 of Tajikistan’s Penal Code stipulate that illegal hard-currency exchange operations by a person, upon whom administrative action was imposed during a year, are punishable by a fine ranging from 8,000 to 14,000 somoni or by up to two years in jail.

The illegal hard-currency exchange operations in the amount of more than 20,000 somoni are punishable by a fine ranging from 29,200 to 43,000 somoni or by up to six years in jail.

The illegal hard-currency exchange operations in the amount of more than 80,000 somoni are punishable by a fine ranging from 51,800 to 65,680 somoni or by up to nine years in jail.

We will recall that in a report released at a news conference in Dushanbe, The head of Tajikistan's National Bank noted on January 26 that any hard-currency exchange operations outside of banks and official financial institutions are illegal.

In December, Tajik central bank reportedly suspected operations at all money exchanges points, citing speculation, leaving only banks the right to perform the transaction.  Anybody carrying out unauthorized currency exchanges could face stiff penalties, the central bank said.

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