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US Treasury Sanctioned Russian Exchange Over Ransomware Transactions

The US Treasury sanctioned a Russian BTC exchange dubbed SUEX over processing ransomware transactions as we can find out more in our latest crypto news today.

Suex is the first crypto exchange to be added to a US Treasury sanctioned list. The exchange operates out of Russia and was accused of processing transactions for ransomware attackers. The cryptocurrency exchange has been sanctioned by the US Treasury for allegedly facilitating transactions for ransomware attackers in transactions worth more than $160 million of BTC. Today’s move makes suex the first crypto exchange to be sanctioned by the government agency. The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control alleged that the exchange helped to transact funds that were obtained through illicit means like transactions linked to about 8 ransom variants. The analysis suggests that more than 40% of the known transactions were associated in some way with these activities.

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Suex has been added to the OFAC specialty Designated Nationals and Blocked person list which means that the US residents and businesses will be barred from doing business with the company. The move came amidst the push by the Biden administration to combat ransomware after a string of high-profile attacks earlier this year. Ransomware is a software-based attack that locks access to networks and computers until the demanded ransom is paid. The attackers request cryptocurrency that can be hard to trace rather than traditional payment methods.

The White House stepped up the enforcement following May’s ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline that caused massive fuel shortages on the US East Coast. The company paid $5 million worth of BTC to teh attackers but the US DOJ announced that it recovered most of the extorted funds. Blockchain analytics company Chainalysis also helped in the investigation into Suex as the company revealed so according to the firm, Suex transacted hundreds of millions of dollars worth of crypto especially Tether, Ethereum, and Bitcoin.

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Chainalysis also said that the Russian BTC Exchange suex is legally registered in the Czech Republic but it seems to be operating entirely in Russia. The investigation shows that Suex is converting crypto into cash in physical locations in Russia to aid the movement of illicit funds. The exchange got more than $50 million worth of BTC from addresses hosted by former crypto exchange BTC-e which the US officials also shut down due to alleged money laundering activities. Chainalysis wrote:

“Today’s designation is important because it represents significant action taken by the U.S. government to combat the money launderers who make all other forms of cryptocurrency-based crime profitable.”

Source: US Treasury Sanctioned Russian Exchange Over Ransomware Transactions

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