US sanctions against Russian fintech companies involved in cryptocurrencies

The United States Imposes Sanctions on Russian Fintech Companies Related to Cryptocurrencies

The Department of the Treasury of the United States has announced sanctions on 13 Russian fintech companies and two individuals for offering services related to cryptocurrencies that were intended to help Russia bypass imposed economic restrictions following the invasion of Ukraine.

New Sanctions Following the Ban on US Citizens Entering Russia

The decision to impose sanctions on Russian fintech companies came two weeks after Russia announced a ban on 227 US citizens, including journalists, researchers, and government officials, for supporting Washington’s “Russophobic” policies.

Sanctions Aimed at Hindering Evasion of Financial Restrictions in Russia

The Russian companies targeted by sanctions were involved in building or operating services based on blockchain technology and facilitating payments with virtual currencies in the Russian financial sector, potentially enabling the circumvention of sanctions imposed by the USA.

List of Companies Covered by Sanctions

Among the Russian fintech companies facing sanctions are entities like B-Crypto, Masterchain, Laitkhaus, and Atomaiz, which were involved in issuing, exchanging, and transferring digital financial assets for Russian banks subject to sanctions.

Netexchange and Netex24, along with the owner Timur Bukanov, were also sanctioned for running a virtual currency exchange enabling digital payments in Russian rubles and virtual currencies for entities under sanctions, such as Sberbank, Alfa-Bank, and Hydra Market.

The Ultimatum in Applying Sanctions

The United States emphasizes that sanctions are a measure of ultimatum to prevent Russia from circumventing economic and financial restrictions, especially in the context of the war in Ukraine.

Payment Mechanisms and US Sanctions

Brian E. Nelson, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, notes that Russia seeks alternative payment mechanisms to evade American sanctions and continue financing military operations against Ukraine.

The US Department of the Treasury assures that it will continue to expose and disrupt fintech companies aiding Russian financial institutions in evading sanctions and attempting to reconnect to the global financial system.

Sanctions for Disinformation Campaign

The United States not only imposed sanctions on crypto-related companies but also on two individuals and two companies for a disinformation campaign aimed at influencing public opinion. These sanctions were linked to a “continuing harmful foreign influence campaign at the direction of the Russian President’s Administration.”