US Treasury Sanctions Crypto Addresses Tied With Neo-Nazi Russian Group
The United States Treasury Department added five cryptocurrency addresses to its sanctions blacklist. All wallets are connected to the Russian neo-Nazi paramilitary group – Task Force Rusich – that has participated in the Ukraine war.
Prior to that, the Department sanctioned the Ethereum-based cryptocurrency mixer – Tornado Cash – and Blender.io (a software tied to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).
Weakening Russia’s Forces
The US Treasury Department announced it designated 22 individuals and two entities who have allegedly supported the Russian government and, more specifically, its military campaign in Ukraine.
“Today’s action is being taken in coordination with those taken by the US Department of Commerce, which is imposing additional export control measures to further align with partners and allies, as well as by the US Department of State, which is targeting Russia’s defense and high-technology industries,” the press release reads.
Among the sanctioned were also five crypto addresses (two Bitcoin, two Ether, and one Tether) tied to Task Force Rusich. The US Treasury Department described the latter as a “neo-Nazi paramilitary group” that has been in combat in Ukraine and has committed atrocities against soldiers. It has also allegedly funded its assaults via cryptocurrencies, the finance organization added.
During the past several days, Ukraine’s army has launched a counter-offensive and has pushed back Russian troops. Their success was noted by the American President – Joe Biden – who couldn’t predict if that would be a war turning point.
The Treasury Department remains committed to aiding the Ukrainian efforts in the conflict and weakening Russia’s military power and financial ties with the rest of the world:
“As Ukraine presses forward with defending its freedom, today we’re taking steps to further degrade Russia’s ability to rebuild its military, hold perpetrators of violence accountable, and further financially isolate Putin.”
The Previous Sanctions
In May this year, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) revealed that North Korean hackers had used the cryptocurrency mixer Blender.io to launder digital assets and carry out state-sponsored cyber attacks. Arguing that the software poses a threat to America’s national security, the entity put it on its sanctions list:
“We are taking action against illicit financial activity by the DPRK and will not allow state-sponsored thievery and its money-laundering enablers to go unanswered.”
Last month, the Department sanctioned another crypto mixer – the Ethereum-based Tornado Cash. The American attorney and government official – Brian E. Nelson – said the tool “failed to impose effective controls designed to stop it from laundering funds for malicious cyber actors.”
Featured Image Courtesy of AA
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I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.