“Provocative” mobile texts say Belarus ruble in for new devaluation

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By Andrei Skvarsky.

About a thousand mobile phone users in Belarus have received anonymous texts that claimed the national currency would again be devalued heavily on January 8 after being slashed by 36% in 2011, the country’s intelligence agency said, dismissing the messages as a “provocative” hoax.

The dollar will be worth 14,340 and the euro 18,116 Belarussian rubles, up from today’s 8,600 and 11,250 respectively, according to the texts as cited in a statement from the State Security Committee, which borrows its name and acronym KGB from its Soviet predecessor.

The SMS messages “falsely” stated one of the central bank’s phone numbers as their source, the KGB said, describing the texts as a “hacker attack”. “It has been found out through a preliminary investigation that the messages were sent out through a server in India,” it said.

The agency said it was “carrying out an investigation and trying to identify those who were involved in this provocative act”.

The May 2011 devaluation of the ruble, which is not freely convertible, sparked panic in the former Soviet republic.
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