13 Crypto Firms, 2 Individuals Blacklisted

Cryptocurrency entities are under surveillance, as is the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). imposed Sanctions against 13 organizations and 2 individuals. These sanctions were imposed in response to allegations of aiding and abetting sanctions evasion on behalf of Russian citizens through the provision of virtual currency-related services.

OFAC’s statement highlights an alarming trend in the use of alternative payment mechanisms, including digital assets, to circumvent US sanctions. Brian E. Nelson, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, emphasized the need to disrupt such activities to disrupt the flow of funds supporting Russian actions in Ukraine.

In a blog post, blockchain analysis firm Chainaries detailed the involvement of some sanctioned crypto companies in enabling sanctions evasion. The majority of these organizations are primarily based in Russia and have been observed to play a role in helping sanctioned Russian financial institutions maintain their connections with the global financial system.

These sanctions serve as a warning to entities engaging in illicit financial practices as global regulators increase their crackdown on crypto-related activities. The industry faces increasing pressure to comply with regulatory standards and prevent misuse for illicit purposes.

Cryptocurrency-related financial fraud is on the rise, Russia’s central bank warns

The Central Bank of Russia has issued a stern warning regarding the spread of financial fraud using digital assets. In a recent report, the bank highlighted an alarming trend in fraudsters using cryptocurrencies to lure victims and facilitate illegal transactions. According to TWJ, nearly all pyramid schemes and illegal intermediary activities identified in 2023 involved some form of digital assets.

Defined as “fake investment projects,” these schemes primarily operate online and are often spread through popular platforms such as Telegram and social media networks. The report reveals a worrying upward trend in such fraudulent activity, with a significant increase observed compared to the previous year.

Notably, digital assets have become the preferred payment method among these illegal organizations, with approximately 1,500 schemes accepting payments in cryptocurrencies. Additionally, illegal brokers and dealers are increasingly exploiting the cryptocurrency theme to commit fraud, offer fraudulent investments, and ignore regulatory requirements.

To counter this growing threat, the central bank, in cooperation with relevant authorities, cracked down on more than 11,200 websites associated with illegal financial activities and pyramid schemes. However, the report highlights the need for continued vigilance and regulatory action to prevent investors from falling victim to crypto-related financial fraud.

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