US and UK Investigate $20 Billion in Crypto Transfers to Russian Exchanges

The US and UK are investigating over $20 billion in cryptocurrency transactions that went through a virtual exchange based in Russia, according to persons acquainted with the situation. This is a part of their joint efforts to combat sanctions evasion, which is fueling Vladimir Putin’s conflict in Ukraine. 

The individuals, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a situation that has not yet been made public, said that the payments under investigation were made through the dollar-pegged cryptocurrency Tether through the Moscow-based cryptocurrency exchange Garantex.

Even after enacting severe sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine, the West’s attempts to stop the flow of money into Russia are not without difficulty. Russia uses encrypted transactions, backdoors, and offshore transfers to avoid economic catastrophe.

The Biden administration has targeted crypto exchanges like Garantex since the war’s onset. A $20 billion breach of Russia sanctions, one of the largest, is reported. The investigations are continuing, and judgments are rash because of the intricacy and opaqueness of cryptocurrency transactions. There is no indication of any recent misconduct on the part of British Virgin Islands-based Tether Holdings.

Tether, a stablecoin pegged to the dollar, is the most traded cryptocurrency globally, exceeding $100 billion in circulation. Tether Holdings froze assets of entities on the US sanctions list in response to inquiries.

The corporation released a statement saying, “With Tether, every action is online, every transaction is traceable, every asset can be seized, and every criminal can be caught. To achieve precisely that, we collaborate with law enforcement.”

Garantex did not reply to a message seeking commentary. The National Crime Agency and the US Treasury declined to comment, as did the UK Treasury.

Earlier this month, Garantex aimed to prevent illicit activities on its exchange, cooperating with European and US authorities until sanctions were imposed. It continues to collaborate with international law enforcement to avoid facilitating criminal activities.

Also Read: US Government Investigates Trust Wallet iOS App for Potential Crypto Theft Vulnerability

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About the Author: Daniel