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Newest Round of Russian Sanctions Include Cryptocurrency Firms

Newest Round of Russian Sanctions Include Cryptocurrency Firms

Lawmakers and administration officials have been voicing concerns that Russia may be using cryptocurrency to avoid pain from the avalanche of sanctions imposed on banks, oligarchs, and the energy industry in recent months due to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Now the Biden administration has rolled out additional sanctions on Wednesday against more than 40 individuals and entities accused of evading the ongoing wave of penalties imposed on Russia as punishment for the invasion. The sanctions include the first set of penalties against cryptocurrency mining firms in relation to the war.

The Treasury Department’s sanctions arm designated the commercial bank Transkapitalbank, a Russian privately-owned commercial bank with operations in China and the Middle East. Transkapitalbank has in the past helped sanctioned clients process dollar payments by providing an alternative communication channel to SWIFT — the dominant system for global financial transactions. Digital currency firm Bitriver AG and 10 of its subsidiaries were also included in Wednesday’s package of sanctions from the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Treasury also targeted people and companies led by U.S.-designated Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev, the founder of Russian Orthodox news channel Tsargrad TV.

In a statement made in connection with the joint International Monetary and Financial Committee and Development Committee that was released shortly after the sanctions became public, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said “Russia’s invasion is an assault on fundamental international rules and norms and threatens the core of the international order.” Yellen added,  “The United States stands resolutely with the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people.”

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