Binance Bans These Kremlin-Linked Users as Russia Keeps Killing Ukrainians and Sanctions Mount

Source: Adobe/Yury and Tanya

 

Major crypto exchange Binance has decided to shut down a number of accounts linked to relatives of senior Russian decision-makers in response to the intensifying Western sanctions on the country triggered by its invasion of Ukraine.

The company named Polina Kovaleva, the stepdaughter of Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and Elizaveta Peskova, the daughter of Dmitry Peskov, the spokesperson for Russia’s dictator Vladimir Putin, as some of the individuals whose accounts were blocked over the past two months. Binance also barred Kirill Malofeev, the son of Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev, from using its services.

Chagri Poyraz, Global Head of Sanctions at Binance, told Bloomberg that the company is on the search for more users with ties to the sanctioned regime.

Poyraz described the exchange's compliance screen operations as "proactive," stating that they are "aiming to detect and deter financial crime risk before any regulatory or legal action towards these individuals or entities."

The latest move comes shortly after the exchange announced it was limiting services in the Russian market as a result of the European Union’s latest package of sanctions on the country.

At the same time, it was recently reported that a local representative for Binance had met with Russia’s financial intelligence unit, Rosfin, whose officials asked the exchange to hand over client data, purportedly to “help them fight crime.” Permission to hand over the requested data was reportedly issued by a regional head of the exchange. The exchange said in a comment to Cryptonews.com that "Binance has not entered into any form of unusual agreement with the Russian government that differs from any other jurisdiction," and denied that it has “sought to actively assist the Russian state in its attempts to investigate” Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

In late February, shortly after Russia launched its war against Ukraine, a Binance spokesperson told Cryptonews.com that the company "assembled a dedicated global compliance task force, including world-renowned sanctions experts," and that it is "taking the steps necessary to ensure we take action against those that have had sanctions levied against them, while minimizing impact to innocent users."

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Learn more: 
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