Blockchain analysis shows that the cryptocurrency address allegedly used by the Russian exchange Suex has recently been sanctioned by the United States and has received more than $934 million in crypto assets. According to the Ministry of Finance, more than 40% of transactions on the platform involve criminals. The Suex co-founder denied any illegal activities.
The sanctioned crypto broker Suex processed $370 million in illegal crypto funds, reports
Taking measures to deal with ransomware attacks, the U.S. Treasury Department set its sights on digital asset exchanges this week. As part of the measures, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of Commerce imposed sanctions on Russia-based over-the-counter cryptocurrency broker Suex, which is accused of facilitating ransomware payments and money laundering activities.
On Tuesday, OFAC issued the latest advisory on the risks associated with ransomware and added Suex OTC sro to its list of specially designated nationals and blocked persons (SDN). The office also announced some of the BTC, ETH, and USDT addresses controlled by the entity, which was incorporated in the Czech Republic but operated outside the physical offices in Russia’s major cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg.
According to a report by Elliptic, these 25 blacklisted addresses have received more than $934 million in crypto assets. OFAC claims that 40% of transactions on Suex involve illegal funds. The blockchain analysis company estimates that the total amount of encrypted transactions related to illegal activities exceeds US$370 million in equivalent legal currencies.
Elliptic pointed out that with the actions against Russian exchanges, the number of cases where OFAC has imposed sanctions on activities involving cryptocurrencies has reached seven. In addition, the office’s list of encrypted addresses related to threat actors has more than 120 entries.
According to the decision of the US financial intelligence and law enforcement agencies, US companies and individuals should not conduct encrypted transactions with sanctioned Russian brokers. Elliptic added that the restrictions also apply to U.S. banks and must avoid handling fiat currency transactions on behalf of Suex and clearing transfers for banks cooperating with exchanges. Elliptic added, emphasizing:
This effect may be chilling-effectively cutting off any downstream access to the USD clearing system by Suex.
Suex co-founder denies allegations of illegal activities
Officials have not yet responded to Suex’s sanctions, but Russian entrepreneur and executive Vasily Zhabykin confirmed in a phone conversation with The New York Times that he is one of its founders. He explained that Suex was established to develop software for the financial industry. Zabikin denied any illegal activities and hinted that his company may be the wrong target. Except for the two addresses in Moscow and Prague, and the exchange website Suex.io, the Ministry of Finance provided almost no detailed information about the entity.
According to Forklog, in addition to Vasily Zhabykin, Egor Petukhovsky, Ildar Zakirov, Maxim Subbotin, Maxim Kurbangaleev, and Czech venture capitalist Tibor Bokor are reportedly involved in the company. In an interview with encrypted news media, Kurbangaleev denied his direct involvement, only admitting that he and his business partners were considering establishing a partnership with this Czech registered entity as early as 2019. Russian national Petukhovsky has been identified as the largest shareholder of Suex OTC sro, while Zabijin and Bogo are considered its executives.
An investigation by the blockchain intelligence company TRM Labs revealed that “Suex was initially operated under the corporate ownership of the Estonian company Izibits OU, which still holds the Estonian virtual asset service provider license on its behalf.” Izibits on its Russian website Listed as the owner of Suex and also the operator of Chatex, Chatex is a Telegram bot that provides encrypted exchange services. The Suex.io domain is registered by Hightrade Finance Ltd. headquartered in St. Vincent, which is a legal entity that Chatex users must sign in their terms of service agreement.
What is your opinion on the Suex case and the sanctions imposed by the United States on Russian crypto brokers? Let us know in the comments section below.
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