The U.S. Treasury Department has sanctioned a second cryptocurrency exchange “for facilitating financial transactions for ransomware actors.” Two ransomware operators have also been sanctioned and $6.1 million in funds were seized.
US Treasury Sanctions Another Cryptocurrency Exchange
The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced Monday that its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has sanctioned ransomware operators and a cryptocurrency exchange.
Crypto exchange Chatex and its associated support network have been sanctioned “for facilitating financial transactions for ransomware actors,” the Treasury states. “Analysis of Chatex’s known transactions indicate that over half are directly traced to illicit or high-risk activities such as darknet markets, high-risk exchanges, and ransomware.”
Chatex has direct ties with Suex OTC, the first crypto exchange sanctioned by the OFAC on Sept. 21, the Treasury noted.
The OFAC also sanctioned Ukrainian Yaroslav Vasinskyi and Russian Yevgeniy Polyanin Monday “for their part in perpetuating Sodinokibi/Revil ransomware incidents against the United States.” The Treasury added that the two are “part of a cybercriminal group that has engaged in ransomware activities and received more than $200 million in ransom payments paid in bitcoin and monero.”
The Treasury explained: “All property and interests in property of the designated targets that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. Additionally, any entities 50 percent or more owned by one or more designated persons are also blocked.”
The announcement describes:
While most virtual currency activity is licit, virtual currency remains the primary mechanism for ransomware payments, and certain unscrupulous virtual currency exchanges are an important piece of the ransomware ecosystem.
DOJ Seizes $6.1 Million in Funds Held at FTX Trading
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) independently announced Monday that it has seized $6.1 million from Polyanin, noting that both Polyanin and Vasinskyi have been “charged with deploying Sodinokibi/Revil ransomware to attack businesses and government entities in the United States.”
The $6.1 million in funds seized are traceable to alleged ransom payments received by Polyanin, the Justice Department said. The funds were held in an “FTX Trading Limited account” in the name of “Evegnii Igorevich Polianin” and/or “Evgeniy Igorevich Polyanin,” the DOJ’s seizure warrant shows.
According to blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis, both individuals received substantial amounts of cryptocurrency. The firm detailed that across all sanctioned addresses named:
Polyanin received over $11.5 million worth of bitcoin and over $2 million worth of USDT_ETH, while Vasinskyi received over $900,000 worth of bitcoin.
What do you think about the U.S. Treasury sanctioning another crypto exchange and seizing $6.1 million? Let us know in the comments section below.