The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States Department of the Treasury has added two cryptocurrency wallets allegedly connected to a Russian sanctions evasion network as part of its list of Specially Designated Nationals.
In a Feb. 1 announcement, OFAC said it had added one Bitcoin (BTC) address and one Ether (ETH) address to its list of sanctioned entities as part of a move to “methodically and intensively target sanctions evasion efforts around the globe.” Treasury said it would impose “full blocking sanctions” on 22 individuals, including Jonatan Zimenkov, a Russian national with access to at least one BTC wallet and one ETH wallet.
According to the U.S. Treasury, Jonatan is the son of arms dealer Igor Vladimirovich Zimenkov, who runs the sanctions evasion network. The group was allegedly behind supplying technology to a Russian company following the country’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, as well as supporting certain “sanctioned, state-owned Russian defense entities,” including Rosoboroneksport and Rostec.
“Igor Zimenkov was designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 for operating or having operated in the defense and related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy,” said OFAC. “Jonatan Zimenkov was also designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Igor Zimenkov.”
Treasury is taking more action as part of the U.S. strategy to methodically & intensively target Russia’s sanctions evasion efforts around the globe, and to make it harder & costlier for Russia’s military-industrial complex to re-supply Putin’s war machine.https://t.co/q7a6DIxhZg
— Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo (@TreasuryDepSec) February 1, 2023
The BTC address provided by Treasury showed no balance at the time of publication. The ETH address likewise contained no tokens but showed four transactions totaling roughly 5,463 ETH in early 2022 — more than $16 million at the time.
Related: Kraken settles with US Treasury’s OFAC for ‘apparent’ sanctions violations
The U.S. Treasury seems to have stepped up efforts to include crypto wallets in its sanctions efforts. The government department effectively barred U.S. residents from using the controversial Tornado Cash mixer, an action that later prompted lawsuits from crypto advocacy groups and investors.