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Russian sanctions target cryptocurrency firms

On Wednesday, the U.S. issued new sanctions against 40 people and entities that were accused of trying to evade the continuing wave of sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

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Russian sanctions target cryptocurrency firms

These sanctions include the first penalty against cryptocurrency mining companies in connection to the war.

Transkapitalbank is a commercial bank that operates in China and the Middle East. It was designated by the Treasury Department's sanction arm.

Transkapitalbank, a Russian private commercial bank, is said to have helped clients pay dollar bills by offering an alternative communication channel from SWIFT, the dominant system for international financial transactions.

Treasury also targeted individuals and companies headed by U.S.-designated Russian Oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev, the founder of Tsargrad TV, a Russian Orthodox news channel.

In December 2014, sanctions were also imposed on Malofeyev. Treasury stated that he was also one of the major sources of funding for Russians supporting separatism in Crimea.

The U.S. government issued penalties for a cryptocurrency company in connection to the war, which was the first.

The Wednesday package of sanctions from Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control included Bitriver AG, a digital currency company, and 10 of its subsidiaries.

Treasury stated in a statement that the United States was committed to making sure no asset, regardless of its complexity, is used by the Putin regime to offset sanctions.

Administration officials and lawmakers expressed concern that Russia might be using cryptocurrency to escape the pain of the avalanche sanctions placed on banks, oligarchs, and the energy sector in the aftermath of the invasion.

Experts believe that Russia will seek to increase its reliance on cryptocurrency to support its financial transactions. However, Treasury officials deny the suggestion that cryptocurrency could lead to sanctions evasion.

Janet Yellen, Treasury Secretary, stated that Russia's invasion was an attack on the fundamental international rules and norms. This statement was made shortly after the sanctions were made public.

"The United States stands united with the Ukrainian government, and the Ukrainian people."

This statement was made in conjunction with the International Monetary and Financial Committee and Development Committee meetings related to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Spring Meetings.

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