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THE NEWS WRAP: Russian authorities declare bitcoin crackdown

Monday, 10 February 2014 | By Andrew Sadauskas

Russian authorities have deemed crypto-currency bitcoin illegal, claiming the virtual currency could be used to finance money laundering or terrorism.

 

“Systems for anonymous payments and cyber currencies that have gained considerable circulation - including the most well-known, bitcoin - are money substitutes and cannot be used by individuals or legal entities,” the Russian Prosecutor General's Office says.

 

“Citizens and legal entities risk being drawn - even unintentionally - into illegal activity, including laundering of money obtained through crime, as well as financing terrorism.”

 

Tony Abbott planning royal commission into union finances

 

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is set to announce a royal commission into union finances this week, which is set to focus on how members’ fees are used.

 

While the royal commission is partly in response to the AWU slush fund affair, it is unlikely to look at the broader issue of trade union corruption.

 

“I think it would be, frankly, irresponsible for the government not to respond to that growing demand in a very thorough way,” Attorney-General George Brandis says.

 

Unsurprisingly, the royal commission has been attacked by the opposition.

 

“The idea that we need to have an expensive multi-million-dollar political royal commission, rather than give those scarce resources to our hardworking police, means the wrong priorities,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says.

 

Obama backs Hockey’s calls for IMF reform

 

The US has backed calls by Treasurer Joe Hockey to reform the International Monetary Fund to allow emerging economies to have a greater say in the organisation.

 

“To secure global economic stability into the future, the United States must support IMF reform now,” Hockey says.

 

“Failure to reform means that we risk a shift away from the IMF and the multilateral system towards bilateral or regional approaches and an international financial architecture that's fragmented and misaligned.”

 

Overnight

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up to 15,794.08 points. The Aussie dollar is down to US89.6 cents.