The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has intensified its enforcement actions by targeting individuals and entities in Russia’s financial services and technology sectors, particularly those involved in virtual assets, to prevent evasion of US sanctions. Thirteen entities and two individuals have been sanctioned for facilitating transactions or providing services aimed at aiding other designated entities in circumventing US sanctions.

Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian E. Nelson, emphasized the importance of disrupting entities that assist sanctioned Russian financial institutions in bypassing global financial system restrictions. OFAC’s sanctions list includes fintech firms based in Moscow and Cyprus, such as B-Crypto, Masterchain, Atomaiz, Veb3 Tekhnologii, Veb3 Integrator, and Tokentrust.

Chainalysis shed light on the activities of Netex24 and Bitpapa, revealing their involvement in facilitating transactions with sanctioned Russian banks and darknet markets using cryptocurrencies. Analysis of on-chain data revealed a significant increase in funds transfers to sanctioned entities and darknet markets since the onset of Russia’s conflict in Ukraine. Netex24 and Bitpapa were also found to facilitate transfers for pro-Russian militia and propaganda groups operating in Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, or Crimean regions.

OFAC’s tightening grip on Russian entities shows the agency’s commitment to enforcing sanctions and preventing the evasion of US restrictions, particularly in the financial services and technology sectors. By targeting entities involved in facilitating illicit transactions and supporting sanctioned entities, OFAC aims to disrupt channels used by Russia to fund its activities, including the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. These measures highlight the importance of international cooperation and vigilance in combating illicit financial activities and protecting global security.