UK Requires Cryptocurrency Exchanges To Notify Suspected Sanctions Breaches. – Tech Tribune France

Under new guidelines adopted in response to concerns that bitcoin and other cryptoassets are being used to circumvent sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, cryptocurrency exchanges must notify alleged sanctions violations to UK authorities.

On August 30, official guidelines were changed to specifically identify “crypto-assets” as assets that must be frozen if sanctions are imposed on any person or entity. Crypto-assets, in addition to digital currencies such as bitcoin, ether, and tether, could contain other hypothetically valuable digital assets such as non-fungible tokens.

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Rules set by the Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Enforcement will hold crypto exchanges criminally liable if they fail to disclose sanctioned customers.

According to the guidelines, crypto exchanges must act quickly if they suspect that one of their clients is subject to sanctions, or if they suspect a violation of sanctions, putting them in the same category as real estate agents, accountants, lawyers and jewelers.

Financial sanctions against individuals and businesses associated with Vladimir Putin’s regime have been among the UK’s most visible responses to the invasion of Ukraine.

Sanctions have been imposed against oligarchs and family with direct stakes in crypto-assets. These include Vladimir Potanin, the former second richest man in Russia, who backed Atomyze, a Swiss blockchain company.

Said Gutseriev, the son of oligarch Mikhail, held a stake in a Belarus-based cryptocurrency exchange until August 2021, when he was sanctioned on the same day as Potanin in June. Oleg Deripaska, a metals tycoon, once encouraged the Russian central bank to allow bitcoin to be used as a payment method. There is no evidence that they used crypto-assets to avoid sanctions.

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, announced in April that it had blocked the accounts of relatives of Russian politicians, including Polina Kovaleva, the daughter-in-law of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and Elizaveta Peskova, the daughter of Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov. . The exchange previously played down concerns about using cryptocurrency to avoid sanctions.

Using cryptocurrency to avoid sanctions and transfer money around the world was already banned in the UK under regulations that apply to all “economic resources”. However, the adjustment highlights authorities’ concern about relatively new assets, which could be useful in avoiding penalties as users are not transacting through registered firms.

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UK Requires Cryptocurrency Exchanges To Notify Suspected Sanctions Breaches. – Tech Tribune France

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