– The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned a Russian national, Ekaterina Zhdanova, for her involvement in laundering and moving money for Russian elites using virtual currency.
– Zhdanova helped a client in Russia obscure their wealth and transferred over $2.3 million into Western Europe through fraudulently opening investment accounts and real estate purchases.
– The sanctions are part of a crackdown on Russian states, elites, and others using virtual currency to offset the effect of international sanctions.
– Zhdanova used the Russian crypto exchange Garantex Europe OU, known for disregarding Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) obligations, as well as cash and traditional businesses for the transfers.
– Zhdanova also facilitated a “United Arab Emirates tax residency service” for Russian clients and possibly helped obfuscate their identities.
– The Treasury aims to safeguard the US and international financial system against illicit finance risks in the virtual assets ecosystem.
– Zhdanova’s activities allowed Russian oligarchs to move millions, including over $100 million on behalf of a Russian oligarch to the United Arab Emirates.
– This illicit financial activity can be used to evade US and international sanctions imposed on Russia.
– Zhdanova provided United Arab Emirates tax residency, identification cards, and bank accounts to clients, with payments made in cash or virtual currency and transferred to foreign bank accounts as per the client’s discretion.
The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has sanctioned a Russian national named Ekaterina Zhdanova for her involvement in using virtual currency to launder and move money for Russian elites. The sanctions are part of a broader effort to crack down on the use of virtual currency to bypass international sanctions. Zhdanova allegedly helped a client in Russia transfer over $2.3 million to Western Europe through fraudulent investment accounts and real estate purchases. She used a Russian crypto exchange called Garantex Europe OU, which was known for allowing illicit actors to use the platform. Zhdanova also facilitated a tax residency service in the United Arab Emirates for Russian clients to obfuscate their identities. The Treasury stated that this type of illicit financial activity undermines multilateral sanctions on Russia and denies access to the international financial system for sanctioned individuals and entities.
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