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OFAC Sanctions Russian National Accused of Using Virtual Currency to Launder Money

According to the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Russian national Ekaterina Zhdanova has been sanctioned as punishment for using virtual currency to launder money for designated Russian elites. OFAC said Zhdanova’s properties and interests in the United States are now either blocked or must be reported.

Russian Elites Seeking to Evade U.S. Sanctions

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s OFAC announced on Nov. 3 that it had sanctioned a Russian national it accuses of using virtual currency to launder money for Russian elites. According to OFAC, the action is in line with the Group of Seven Countries (G7)’s goal of going after sanction busters who have been helping sanctioned Russian oligarchs.

As per the statement, the Russian national, Ekaterina Zhdanova (Zhdanova), is accused of helping an unnamed client obfuscate the source of $2.3 million that was funneled into Western Europe. By taking such a step, Zhdanova helped the sanctioned Russian individual evade the sanctions, OFAC added.

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Commenting on Zhdanova’s addition to the list of sanctioned Russian nationals, Brian E. Nelson, the Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said:

We remain focused on safeguarding the U.S. and international financial system against those who seek to exploit this technology, among other illicit finance risks in the virtual assets ecosystem.

As a result of her designation, OFAC said Zhdanova’s properties and interests in the United States are either blocked or must be reported. According to OFAC, Zhdanova’s activities undermine the effectiveness of multilateral U.S. and international sanctions which are intended to “impose costs on Russia for its unprovoked war.”

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