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U.S. Treasury Sanctions Russian Crypto Exchange Seux Over Ransomware Ties

cryptoknowmics.com 22 September 2021 07:30, UTC
Reading time: ~2 m

Russia-based Seux cryptocurrency exchange has been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury for processing ransomware attacks transactions estimated to be over $160 million worth of Bitcoin (BTC).

U.S. Treasury Issues Sanctions Against Crypto Exchange Seux Over Ransomware

The U.S. government has sanctioned a cryptocurrency exchange for the first time for its alleged role in laundering illegal payments in ransomware attacks after a string of cyberattacks against several industries and even threatening the U.S. government agencies.

The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) alleged that Russia-based Seux cryptocurrency exchange has facilitated transactions involving illicit proceeds for at least eight ransomware variants and that over 40% of transactions were associated with illicit actors.

The Russian cryptocurrency exchange has been added to OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list, which means that all U.S. residents and businesses are barred from engaging with the firm.

The agency's Office of Foreign Assets Control warned players in the space that it "has imposed, and will continue to impose, sanctions on these actors and others who materially assist, sponsor, or provide financial, material, or technological support for these activities."

Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo said:

"Exchanges like Suex are critical to attackers' ability to extract profits from ransomware attackers. Today's action is a signal of our intention to expose and disrupt the illicit infrastructure using these attacks."

Chainalysis Aided the OFAC for Investigation

Blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis apparently assisted the U.S. Treasury’s investigation into Suex. Per the firm, Suex has transacted hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies, particularly Ethereum, and Tether” much of which is from illicit and high-risk sources.”

Chainalysis’s investigation found that Suex is legally registered in the Czech Republic and appears to operate within Russia and is allegedly converting cryptocurrency into cash at its physical locations in Russia to aid in the movement of illicit funds.

Interestingly, Suex has received more than $50 million worth of Bitcoin from addresses hosted by former crypto exchange BTC-e, which U.S. officials had shut down due to alleged money laundering activities.

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