Network Converted Russian Rubles Into Ukrainian Hryvnia Via Cryptocurrency
Ukraine blocked an illicit money laundering network operating across the country that made use of sanctioned Russian payment systems and cryptocurrency exchanges to convert Russian rubles into Ukrainian hryvnia.
The “black money exchanges” network processed more than $4 million every month, the Security Service of Ukraine said Monday in an alert.
Cyber specialists with the Ukrainian Security Intelligence Service raided currency exchange centers in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Rivne and Sumy, and officers recovered approximately $1.6 million in cash as well as computer equipment.
The network used unnamed cryptocurrency exchanges and Russian transfer systems YooMoney and WebMoney. Exchanges received funds in the form of cryptocurrency converted from rubles.
The networks’ main clients included hackers and business people who conducted suspect transactions inside Russia, the Ukrainian government said.
After the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury imposed economic sanctions targeting the core infrastructure of the Russian financial system, including YooMoney, a limited liability bank in Russia.
Ukraine in 2018 imposed sanctions on WebMoney, one of Russia’s largest electronic payments processors.
Ukrainian authorities said the operators of the illicit money laundering services in Ukraine face punishment under a statute that prohibits transfer of documents, payment cards and other means of access to bank accounts, electronic money or equipment used to support illegal activities.