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The move is aimed at disrupting the activities of these entities and preventing them from operating with impunity. The US Treasury Department, along with other government agencies, put sanctions on Russian underground platform Hydra and currency exchange Garantex as part of a global effort to combat cybercrime and illegal activity.
German law enforcement officers announced the shutdown of Hydra’s servers in Germany and seizure of $25 million worth of Bitcoin linked to the marketplace. The Treasury Department alleges that Garantex did not comply with Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism requirements and identified over $100 million in operations connected to illegal marketplaces and its users.
The investigation found that over $8 million related to malware threats had moved with the help of Hydra.
The US Treasury Department has labeled more than 100 addresses associated with Hydra and Garantex as “Specially Designated Nationals,” resulting in blocked assets and limitations on US individuals dealing with them. The agency determined that Hydra posed a significant danger to national security, the law, and economical environment.
The US government’s actions were prompted by previous sanctions against Suex OTC, a Russia-based company that allegedly facilitated cryptocurrency payments to ransomware hackers. To tackle money laundering and cybercrime involving cryptocurrencies, task forces have been established by the FBI and Justice Department. Treasury Secretary Yellen is expected to discuss the role of cryptocurrencies in the US economy at American University in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.