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Feds Sanction Bitcoin, Ethereum Addresses Linked to Russian Arms Dealer

The US Treasury today sanctioned two cryptocurrency addresses linked to a Russian arms dealer.

In a Wednesday statement, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said it had blacklisted Bitcoin and Ethereum addresses used by Jonatan Zimenkov, the son of Igor Vladimirovich Zimenkov.

According to the OFAC, father and son Igor and Jonatan Zimenkov have worked together to run a sanctions evasion network which has provided a Russian company with “high-technology devices” following the invasion of Ukraine last year.

“Igor Zimenkov has worked closely with his son Jonatan Zimenkov and a broad network of individuals and entities to enable Russian defense sales to third-country governments,” Wednesday’s release said.

It added that both Igor and Jonatan Zimenkov have been in touch with sanctioned Russian defense firms. “The Zimenkov network has used front companies to funnel money within the network while attempting to maintain a lawful appearance,” the OFAC said.

The two sanctioned Bitcoin and Ethereum addresses are not currently holding any assets, blockchain data shows.

The OFAC has sanctioned cryptocurrency addresses and products before. Perhaps the most high-profile case was last year, when it banned US citizens from using Tornado Cash, claiming that criminals were using it to launder dirty funds.

Tornado Cash is a “coin mixer” app. It allows people to anonymously send and receive Ethereum.

The OFAC claims the app has been used by North Korea state-sponsored hacking group Lazarus Group as a go-to tool for obscuring stolen funds.

But the ban has angered many in the crypto community and even some US politicians, such as Rep. Tom Emmerwho claim that privacy is a right and that blacklisting an app punishes the wrong people.

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