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El Salvador body to investigate complaints about government’s bitcoin purchases, ATM kiosks By Reuters


© Reuters. A customer buys a pizza from Chivo Wallet. The Salvadoran government launched the wallet for Bitcoin legal tender in September 2021 at Perronas Pizza. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

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

El Salvador was the first to recognize bitcoin as legal currency this month. This move was championed in part by President Nayib Bukele.

Chivo, the government’s digital wallet, is also available. It can be linked to new cryptocurrency cash machines, which allow users to withdraw bitcoin in physical currency. Its roll out has been plagued by glitches

Cristosal, a local human rights and transparency organisation, filed a complaint to the Court of Accounts on September 10. The Court of Accounts can issue asset and administrative sanctions against those officials who are unable to solve problems.

Cristosal demanded an audit of the approval processes to purchase bitcoins. He also requested a review of the construction of ATMs that are linked to Chivo’s digital wallet. The booths were used to access the Chivo company founded with public resources.

Cristosal’s complaint was against six members of the Board of Directors of the Bitcóin Trust, consisting of members of the Finance and Economy ministries, as well as the secretariat of Commerce and Investments.

The Court of Accounts confirmed that the matter had been accepted and would proceed to prepare the report on legal analysis. It will also send the report to the General Audit Coordination.

The complaint was confirmed by a Cristosal official who wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter.

In addition to sanctioning officers, the Court of Accounts can present notices to Attorney General’s Office in order to start criminal proceedings if it discovers irregularities in its investigations.

The President’s Government did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

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