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Bloomberg: US and UK tracking $20 billion in crypto transfers to Russia

by Rachel Amran March 29, 2024 1:36 AM 2 min read
Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia, on March 26, 2024. (Photo by Contributor/Getty Images)
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The U.S. and U.K. are investigating several cryptocurrency transactions valued at more than $20 billion that passed through a Russian-based virtual exchange, Bloomberg reported on March 28.

The transactions were reportedly made through the Russian-based exchange group Garantex using the dollar-pegged cryptocurrency Tether. The U.S. and U.K. have sanctioned transfers through Garantex on suspicion of enabling financial crimes and illicit transfers to Russia.

Western countries have launched several rounds of sanctions against Russia and individuals associated with Vladimir Putin since the beginning of the full-scale invasion in hopes of depleting sources of revenue believed to help fund the war.

More recently, the EU adopted a package of sanctions targeting an additional 106 individuals and 88 entities involved in Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The list includes companies from India, Sri Lanka, China, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Thailand, and Turkey.

The EU also subjected 27 entities to tighter export restrictions of dual-use goods and technologies that might contribute to the technological development of Russia’s military sector and imposed export restrictions on components used to develop and produce drones.

Ukraine's allies also froze around $300 billion in Russian assets back in February 2022, when the full-scale invasion began.

Allies have urged European leaders to use these funds to fund Ukraine's post-war reconstruction efforts.  Debates over the legality of channeling these funds into Ukraine have prevented allies from transferring the money, but ongoing delays in U.S. military aid have prompted heightened urgency.

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