US Treasury Cracks Down on Russian Crypto Money Laundering
The Office of Foreign Assets Control, a division of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, sanctioned a Russian individual, Ekaterina Zhdanova, for her involvement in using digital currencies to move funds on behalf of Russian elites.
The sanctions were part of a broader effort to prevent the misuse of virtual currencies to evade international sanctions, particularly by Russian elites.
Zhdanova reportedly assisted a Russian client in hiding substantial wealth, transferring over $2.3 million into Western Europe through deceptive means, including the fraudulent opening of investment accounts and real estate acquisitions.
These actions pose risks related to illicit financial activities and undermine sanctions against Russia for its unprovoked war, aimed at restricting sanctioned individuals’ access to the global financial system.
Zhdanova used a designated Russian crypto exchange known for neglecting anti-money laundering obligations to move money through various channels. She facilitated substantial digital currency transfers for relocating oligarchs and allegedly transferred over $100 million on behalf of a Russian oligarch to the United Arab Emirates.
She also reportedly provided a “United Arab Emirates tax residency service” to Russian clients, potentially aiding in concealing their identities by offering residency, identification cards, and bank accounts, with payments made in cash or digital currency.
Funds were allegedly received in a Dubai bank account and then transferred to foreign bank accounts as directed by the clients.