El Departamento del Tesoro de EE. UU. Impone sanciones al intercambiador de cifrado ruso Suex

The US Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on the Russian crypto exchanger Suex for money laundering in the amount of more than $160 million in Bitcoin equivalent.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) found out that Suex exchanged money involving funds associated with at least 8 ransomware, scam, and darknet projects. Among those who used the services of the Russian Suex, BTC-e exchange accounts were noticed. Moreover, the latter's funds in the amount of about $50 million were transferred after its closure.

Suex is an OTC crypto broker registered in the Czech Republic, although the company's offices are located in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and other Russian cities. According to TRM Labs, Suex started operating under the ownership of Izibits OU, an Estonian licensed digital asset service provider. The largest shareholder of Suex is Yegor Petukhovsky, the current listing director of the telegram bot Chatex. Vasily Zhabykin was named the head of the TRM Labs exchange. Based on Zhabykin's LinkedIn, today he is the head of the neobank NUUM, owned by the telecom giant MTS. Among those who own a stake in Suex is also the Czech capitalist Tibor Bokor.

According to analysts at Chainalysis, from winter 2018 to autumn 2021, the crypto exchange received over $480 million in Bitcoin equivalent, $160 million of which was associated with illegal activities. In 2020 alone, 55% of the assets carried through this platform were obtained by illegal means.

TRM Labs and Chainalysis noted that Suex actually works with cryptocurrency wallets created on the largest cryptocurrency exchanges. That is, it uses its liquidity and trading pairs, without offering clients the opportunity to store money directly.

The amounts of funds received by the exchange were distributed as follows:

  • More than $24 million was received from scam projects, including the infamous Russian pyramid Finiko
  • Ransomware generated nearly $12 million
  • More than $82 million was transferred through the exchanger from suspicious exchanges and crypto exchanges like BTC-e
  • Suex received more than $20 million from organizers of darknet marketplaces, among which Hydra was mentioned
  • The creators of illegal crypto mixers spent about $24 million through the exchange

Earlier, the administration of the incumbent President Joe Biden said that it intends to strictly combat ransomware and monitor suspicious cryptocurrency payments, tightening its regulation. Suex, in turn, now appears as an organization suspected of terrorism and drug trafficking, therefore, US residents and citizens of the country are prohibited from cooperating with Suex. Otherwise, they will face a fine and even imprisonment. Although the employees of the exchanger, according to representatives of OFAC, the sanctions will not apply.

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