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The US would hold responsible anyone who assists Russia in circumventing financial sanctions in the aftermath of the Kremlin’s act of terrorism on Ukraine, US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said Tuesday.
Russia has been punished with severe financial and economic sanctions by the US and its allies as a result of its invasion on Ukraine. However, US legislators are apprehensive that those targeted may attempt to dodge the restrictions by utilizing cryptoassets.
Since the fighting broke out on February 24, it has triggered a catastrophic humanitarian disaster in Eastern Europe, displacing millions and killing thousands.
Sanctions Deal Heavy Blow On Russia
Russia’s economy has also been weakened by the crippling sanctions, which have increased the country’s isolation.
Adeyemo cautioned that those who violate this directive will be identified and punished by US authorities. The Treasury official mentioned the following in a recent interview with CNBC:
“We want to make it very clear to cryptocurrency exchanges, financial institutions, people, and anybody else who might be in a position to assist Russia in exploiting and evading our sanctions.”
He listed cryptocurrencies and opaque shell corporations as potential methods by which Russia could circumvent economic sanctions.
“We will come and find you, and we will ensure that Russia is unable to bypass the sanctions we have imposed to make it more difficult for them to wage their illegitimate war in Ukraine.”
BTC total market cap at $899.28 billion on the daily chart | Source: TradingView.com
Crypto Exchanges Under Fire
Earlier this month, the US and its G-7 allies pledged to tighten gaps that could allow Russia’s state and oligarchs to utilize digital assets to mitigate or evade sanctions, as they intensified their campaign on evasion.
Since the invasion began, several cryptocurrency exchanges have come under fire for continuing to enable Russians to utilize their services.
However, Coinbase Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong and Kraken CEO Jesse Powell have pleaded the Russian nationals’ innocence.
Adeyemo – the 15th Deputy Secretary of the US Treasury – asserted that there is no proof that Russia has evaded the sanctions.
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Penalizing Bitcoin Exchanges
The Treasury, which is responsible for overseeing the federal government’s finances, has a record for penalizing bitcoin exchanges. It sanctioned Suex – a trading platform situated in the Czech Republic – in September last year.
The 40-year-old Treasury official accused the firm of supporting “illicit proceeds from at least eight ransomware strains” at the time. Furthermore, he stated that 40% of the exchange’s known transaction history is associated with criminals.
The United Kingdom, US, Canada, Germany, Japan, Italy, and France are all members of the G-7.
Since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, the country’s defenses have been bolstered by the use of digital currency.
Featured image from CNBC, chart from TradingView.com