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Russia is currently facing many sanctions due to its attack on Ukraine. Many major companies have cut ties with the country, and governments globally have imposed sanctions on the nation.
Authorities in Ukraine have seized $3 million in cash and other assets from crypto traders illegally laundering money for Russians. The authorities said these crypto traders in Ukraine were catering to Russian citizens, helping them to convert these assets to cryptocurrency. The Ukraine Prosecutor General’s office promised that the crypto traders would face criminal proceedings for their actions.
In addition to the cash, the officials seized real estate and a trove of silver. According to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s office, the confiscated items include more than 50 million hryvnias, which equals $1.6 million. Six plots of land, three apartments, and 830 kilograms of silver were also allegedly impounded from the money launderers.
Ukraine Crypto Traders Uses Crypto to Launder Money for Russia
The office of the Prosecutor General is accusing the crypto brokers of converting cash and non-cash assets into crypto for Russians. The Ukraine authorities also said the launderers were working for breakaway locations of Luhansk and Donetsk. In total, the seizures are worth more than $3.3 million. Notably, most of the impounded cash is in euros, with no mention of seized crypto wallets or assets.
Russia is currently facing many sanctions due to its attack on Ukraine. Many major companies have cut ties with the country, and governments globally have imposed sanctions on the nation. Shortly after the invasion, the Biden administration passed multiple sanctions. President Joe Biden aimed to restrict Russia from accessing foreign capital with the sanction. At the time, experts revealed that Russia might evade these sanctions using crypto. The experts noted that Russia would be willing to partner with anyone worldwide as long as these entities make crypto payments and not bank transfers. Russia bypassing sanctions is not a new action, as there was a similar case in 2014. At the time, the US restricted Americans from doing businesses with Russian banks after the Crimea invasion. Economist estimates show that the sanctions cost Russia $50 billion annually.
Ripple CEO Says Governments Can Trace Crypto Transactions
However, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse believes that it is impossible for Russia to use crypto to bypass sanctions. The CEO supported General Manager Asheesh Birla’s assertion that crypto is becoming more traceable by governments. He pointed to the process of converting crypto to fiat currencies, which involved financial institutions. Garlinghouse added that RippleNet is “NOT working with sanctioned banks or countries that are restricted counterparties. Ripple and our customers support and enforce OFAC laws and KYC/AML.
“Instead of listening to responsible players who have been clear they will abide by legal sanctions, some pundits and media insist on continuing to paint crypto as the Silk Road – both an exceptionally outdated and tired argument which simply doesn’t hold true today,” said he.