scorecardThe US and the UK are reportedly looking into $20 billion of crypto payments that may have helped Moscow evade sanctions
  1. Home
  2. cryptocurrency
  3. news
  4. The US and the UK are reportedly looking into $20 billion of crypto payments that may have helped Moscow evade sanctions

The US and the UK are reportedly looking into $20 billion of crypto payments that may have helped Moscow evade sanctions

Yuheng Zhan   

The US and the UK are reportedly looking into $20 billion of crypto payments that may have helped Moscow evade sanctions
CryptocurrencyCryptocurrency1 min read
  • The US and UK are probing over $20 billion of crypto transactions via a Russia-based exchange, according to Bloomberg.
  • That amount would mark the most significant violation of sanctions since the war began, the report said.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday that the US and UK are probing $20 billion in cryptocurrency transactions that passed through a Russia-based exchange, as the West seeks to tighten the screws on methods Moscow could be using to evade sanctions over its war against Ukraine.

Sources told Bloomberg that the payments under scrutiny flowed through the Moscow-based Garantex crypto exchange, utilizing the dollar-pegged stablecoin Tether.

The $20 billion of transactions would mark one of the most significant violations of sanctions against Russia since the Biden administration's crackdown on Kremlin-linked crypto exchanges at the start of the war in February 2022, the sources told Bloomberg. However, they noted that due to the complexity of cryptocurrency transactions, it's too early to draw conclusions.

The payments made on the exchange were in Tether, the US dollar-pegged stablecoin that is the most widely traded crypto in the world, used mostly to swap from one crypto to another or into fiat currency. There's no sign of wrongdoing on the part of Tether Holdings, sources said, but the crypto's ease of use in transacting from crypto to actual currency has made it a frequent tool for cybercriminals.

Garantex was founded in 2019 in Estonia, and it now operates primarily out of Federation Tower in Moscow, according to US government reports. Estonia revoked its operating license in February 2022, aligning with US efforts to clamp down on the exchange.

The US Treasury slammed Garantex for allowing its systems to be "abused by illicit actors" and shirking anti-money laundering and anti-terror financing responsibilities. The department hit the exchange with sanctions in April 2022, tying it to over $100 million in illicit transactions by criminal groups including the Russian ransomware gang Conti.




Advertisement