Huobi and KuCoin may be in hot water after a report by Politico has claimed they have assisted with cryptocurrency transactions for sanctioned Russian individuals.
Citing data from blockchain analytics firm Inca Digital, Politico said both exchanges had been allowing individuals to transact through them with debit cards issued by Russian banks.
However, to clarify, neither of the exchanges has been accused of accepting funds from blacklisted banks.
Despite this, allowing crypto buyers to trade with each other using accounts from sanctioned institutions is in violation of US and European sanctions. It’s also “a little bit of loophole”, according to Inca CEO Adam Zarazinski.
Cryptocurrencies have often been cited by Western governments as a possible way to evade debilitating sanctions launched against Russian individuals and government institutions.
Some observers estimate that 80% of the Russian banking sector has been sanctioned by Western governments.
US senator Elizabeth Warren said in a statement that the incident involving the two exchanges was evidence that any claims made by crypto lobbyists were bogus.
She was referring to the many crypto companies that have stated that Russia would not be able to dodge sanctions using crypto, because everything is being recorded on a public ledger.
A growing chorus of lawmakers have highlighted the risk of letting sanctioned individuals and institutions in Russia use cryptocurrencies to dodge sanctions. So far, Huobi and KuCoin have not commented on the case.
Russia itself is considering introducing crypto payments as a way to counteract Western sanctions.
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