Ukraine Reprimands Crypto OTC Brokers for Transacting With Russians

The Ukrainian government has busted over $1.7 million in fiat money including real estate property and lots of silver. The loot was recovered from over-the-counter (OTC) crypto brokers suspected to be working with Russians. According to the Ukrainian authorities, these brokers illegally aided Russians to purchase cryptocurrency.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, several organizations placed the latter nation on sanctions. Financial institutions like Mastercard and Visa suspended Russians from engaging in their services. The European Union also sanctioned Russia and advised key organizations to do the same.

In response to the European Union’s sanctions, the world’s largest crypto exchange Binance limited its offerings to Russian users. The users were allowed to make withdrawals but not deposits. One of the top-ranked exchanges in Russia, Exmo also sold its business division in the country.

Russians Still Trade in Crypto

Meanwhile, in Ukraine, some crypto activities linked to Russia and Russia-inhabited territories were noticed. Brokers were helping Russians convert their physical assets to digital assets. They were also providing them with a means to bypass taxes. Although it has not been confirmed if the trade took place before or after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Based on collation by the Prosecutor General’s Office in Ukraine, the sum of the fiat money seized is €850,000, $470,000, and 460,000 Ukrainian hryvnias (UAH). Six plots of land, three apartments and 830 kilograms of silver were also confiscated. 

After total valuation, the cost of all the assets was about $3.39 million. It was transferred to Ukraine’s Asset Recovery and Management Agency whose operations are similar to that of the United States Marshals. The brokers are likely to face legal charges. 

This is not the first of its kind in Ukraine. In 2021, there was a similar case where a couple of millions were recovered from crypto OTC firms and individuals. In addition, the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) at one time impounded over 800kg of silver and 43 million UAH. 

Phones, computers, hard drives, and documents confirming the deals between the Russians and the OTC brokers were recovered.