Chatex is put on OFAC watch list

The Office of Foreign Assets Controls (OFAC) has placed global cryptocurrency exchange Chatex on its list of sanctioned entities, along with three associated companies.

The other companies in the list include Estonia-based IZIBITS OU, Latvia-based Chatextech SIA, and Hightrade Finance Ltd. The governments of Estonia and Latvia have already acted in accordance with OFAC’s sanctions.

OFAC, which is the US Treasury Department’s enforcement agency for economic sanctions, also issued sanctions to Ukrainian and Russian nationals in connection with ransomware attacks, that tie back to the exchange.

Ukrainian Yaroslav Vasinskiy and Russian Yevgeniy Polyanin have been added to the watch list. Vasinskiy is suspected of having assisted with the attack on Kaseya, an IT software firm that got hit with a $70m ransomware attack.

Both men are thought to be a part of REvil, the hacking collective that raked in $200m of Bitcoin and Monero originating from ransomware attacks.

Commenting on the case, Deputy Secretary of Treasury Wally Adeyemo said: “Ransomware groups and criminal organizations have targeted American businesses and public institutions of all sizes and across sectors, seeking to undermine the backbone of our economy.”

With the number of ransomware attacks on US soil intensifying, the US Department of Justice and all regulators in the country have been clamping down on economic activity conducted by parties suspected of carrying out such attacks.

The Treasury Department provided a report in which it outlined that half of Chatex’s publicly available transactions are related to high-risk or illicit activities.

The Department has also established that Chatex is connected to Suex, another cryptocurrency exchange that has been placed on its watch list.

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Updated: 11/09/2021 — 15:00