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El Salvador Regulator to Investigate Government BTC Purchases

El Salvador
El Salvador

The El Salvador Court of Accounts, the body that has oversight over the use of public resources, has stated that it is conducting investigations over the recent move by the government of El Salvador to purchase Bitcoin.

According to Reuters, the investigation follows a complaint on the matter, which also mentions the construction of kiosks that will serve as cryptocurrency ATMs.

El Salvador’s Push for Bitcoin

Earlier this month, El Salvador became the first country globally to adopt the use of Bitcoin as legal tender. The push for the use of Bitcoin as legal tender has been promoted by the country’s president, Nayib Bukele.

To aid in this transition, the government launched the Chivo wallet in collaboration with several cryptocurrency firms. The Chivo wallet has been linked to cryptocurrency ATMs that will allow users to convert Bitcoin into fiat currency automatically at zero transaction fees.

Despite the move making headlines across the globe, it has been marked with several glitches. On the day the Chivo wallet was launched, it experienced technical glitches that forced the government to take it down temporarily for maintenance.

Court of Accounts Received a Complaint

The report stated that the Court of Accounts had received a complaint on September 10 lodged by the regional human rights and transparency body, Cristosal. The complaint by Cristosal required that the government provide an audit of the authorization it received before commencing with the purchase of Bitcoin.

The Court Accounts is tasked with the role of issuing sanctions against government officials. The body also mentioned that it was reviewing the construction of Bitcoin ATM booths that would later be linked to the Chivo wallet. The booths were constructed using public resources.

The complaint lodged by Cristosal mentioned six members of the Board of Directors in the Bitcoin Trust. The board was made up of members of the ministries of Finance and Economy. The Secretariat of Commerce and Investments was also involved.

The official document seen by Reuters read in part that, “Having admitted the complaint, it will be proceeded to carry out the legal analysis report and, in a timely manner, forward such report to the General Audit Coordination.” A Cristosal official who chose to remain anonymous has confirmed the acceptance of the complaint.

Apart from issuing sanctions, the Court of Accounts also has the authority to issue a notice to the Attorney General’s office to launch a criminal case, if irregularities are detected. The government of El Salvador is yet to give a response to the matter.

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