US Sanctions First Crypto Exchange For Alleged Ransomware Ties
The US government has moved to blacklist a Russian crypto exchange in what seems to be the first time the government is taking such an action against a crypto exchange;
- The US Treasury Department has announced sanctions against a crypto exchange named Suex for allegations of facilitating transactions for ransomware operators based in Russia. The department therein claims that over 40% of Suex’s known transaction history was associated with illicit and criminal operations.
- Out of many, the most infamous ransomware group globally appears to be a Russian organization named Evil Corp that’s alleged to have made over $100mn from ransomware payments and bank fraud, a figure that implies much notoriety. The recent attack on food supplier JBS was attributed to the organization by the American FBI.
- As advertised on its bare IP website, Suex seems to require an in-person office visit to process transactions, quite unusual for crypto exchanges. It doesn’t seem to have an exchange of its own but rather relies on external crypto exchanges to facilitate transactions on behalf of clients, providing obscurity in the process.
|Screenshot from the Suex website.|
- According to public corporate documents, Suex’s shareholders are Vasilii Zhabykin, a Russian, and Tibor Bokor, a citizen of the Czech Republic who was notably detained this May in the country in connection with a large fraud case.
- The US Treasury identified a total of 25 bitcoin, ethereum, and tether addresses known to be controlled by Suex on its sanctions list, addresses that American companies are now barred from transacting with. Altogether, the addresses have processed over $900mn in transactions, public blockchain data shows.