We Will Ensure Russia Cannot Use Crypto Assets to Evade Sanctions – On Friday, the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries published a joint statement regarding additional sanctions against Russia. “Our countries have taken restrictive, expansive measures that have gravely affected Russia’s economy and financial system,” the statement says, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
“Maintaining the efficacy of our restrictive measures, clamping down on evasion, and closing loopholes” is one of the actions the G7 countries have agreed to pursue further.
The G7 joint statement contains details:
“In particular, we will ensure that the Russian state and elites, proxies, and oligarchs cannot use digital assets to evade or negate the impact of international sanctions, in addition to other steps planned to prevent evasion.”
This, according to the G7 leaders, “would further restrict their access to the global financial system.” “It is widely acknowledged that our present sanctions already cover crypto-assets,” they said.
The following is the rest of the statement:
“We pledge to take steps to better detect and prevent illegal conduct, and we will impose costs on illegal Russian actors who use digital assets to enhance and transfer their riches, in accordance with our domestic procedures.”
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury also released recommendations on Friday “to guard against potential attempts to exploit virtual currency to avoid US sanctions imposed on Russia.” All U.S. individuals must “comply with OFAC requirements, regardless of whether a transaction is denominated in traditional fiat currency or virtual currency,” according to the guidance.
“U.S. people, wherever they are situated, including firms that handle virtual currency transactions, must be cautious against attempts to bypass OFAC regulations and must take risk-based procedures to ensure they do not engage in prohibited activities,” the guidance detailed, which also says:
“OFAC is keeping a close eye on any attempts to evade or breach Russia-related sanctions, including through the use of virtual currency, and is dedicated to using its extensive enforcement powers to stop violations and promote compliance.”
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated last week that the Treasury Department is monitoring cryptocurrency use to escape sanctions, and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued red flags on suspected cryptocurrency sanctions evasion.