KHUJAND, Tajikistan -- Hundreds of people in Tajikistan are facing fines or even possible jail time for “illegal hard-currency exchanges.”
The regional prosecutor in the northern region of Sughd said 73 local residents are facing serious criminal charges that could result in lengthy prison sentences.
The prosecutor, Habibullo Vohidov, added a further 253 people were facing lesser charges likely to result in fines or even up to 15 days in jail.
Vohidov said all had violated the country’s hard-currency exchange laws, but he did not disclose any further details.
Vohidov's statement on January 29 comes three days after the head of Tajikistan's National Bank, Jamshed Nurmuhammadzoda, announced that legislation was being considered to introduce jail terms of up to nine years for unauthorized hard-currency exchanges.
Nurmuhammadzoda added that any hard-currency exchanges outside of banks or official financial institutions were illegal.
In December, Tajik authorities shut down all independent currency exchange booths operating across the country, citing the dropping value of the Tajik currency, the somoni.