Salvadoran agency to investigate complaints about government bitcoin purchases and ATMs

SAN SALVADOR, Sept. 16 (Reuters) – El Salvador’s Court of Auditors, which oversees its public resources, will investigate a complaint about government bitcoin purchases and the construction of kiosks for cryptocurrency ATMs, according to a document viewed by Reuters.

El Salvador this month became the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, a move championed by the country’s popular president, Nayib Bukele.

The government has also launched a digital wallet, Chivo, which is linked to newly built cryptocurrency ATMs that allow users to withdraw physical money from their digital bitcoin holdings. Its deployment was hampered by problems.

The Court of Auditors, which can impose administrative and patrimonial sanctions on officials unable to resolve the problems, said it received a complaint on September 10 from a regional human rights and transparency organization, Cristosal, concerning the implementation. work of bitcoin in El Salvador.

Cristosal has requested an audit of the authorization processes for the purchase of bitcoins and to review the construction of the booths used for the ATMs linked to the digital wallet of Chivo, a company incorporated with public resources.

Cristosal’s complaint targeted six members of the Bitcóin Trust board of directors, which is made up of members of the ministries of finance and the economy, as well as the trade and investment secretariat.

“Having admitted the complaint, the legal analysis report will be carried out and, in due course, the transmission of this report to the general coordination of the audit,” said the Court of Auditors in an official document reviewed by Reuters.

A Cristosal official, who was not authorized to speak about the case, confirmed that the complaint was accepted.

In addition to sanctioning officials, the Court of Auditors is empowered to present opinions to the Attorney General’s office to initiate criminal proceedings in the event that it finds irregularities in their investigations.

President Bukele’s government did not immediately respond to the request for comment.

Reporting by Nelson Renteria Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Michael Perry

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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