- Cryptocurrency exchange Suex has been added to OFAC’s list of sanctioned entities
- OFAC claims that Suex helped launder money for Russian hackers, most notably those from recent ransomware attacks
- Suex founder Vasily Zhabykin said that OFAC must have made a mistake in fingering his exchange
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has sanctioned Russian cryptocurrency exchange Suex on suspicion of money laundering. The exchange, which was founded in the early 2010s, has allegedly helped Russian hackers launder money, including those behind recent high profile attacks on JBS and Colonial Pipeline. OFAC also found a connection to BTC-e, the exchange that handled a huge amount of the bitcoin stolen from Mt. Gox in 2014.
40% of Suex Trades Were With “Illicit Actors”
Suex is an exchange not really known or used by crypto users outside Russia, and OFAC’s sanctioning of the exchange is the first time many will have heard of it. This could be to do with its activities however, as it seems that money laundering was its stock in trade.
OFAC gave its rationale for adding Suex to its register of blacklisted entities as being “its part in facilitating financial transactions for ransomware actors, involving illicit proceeds from at least eight ransomware variants.” The updated order added that “over 40% of SUEX’s known transaction history was associated with illicit actors”.
Founder Denies Knowledge of Illegal Activity
Suex co-founder Vasily Zhabykin, a graduate of a prestigious Russian university, told the New York Times on Monday Suex had been founded to develop software for the financial industry and that any assumptions of illegal activity by the Treasury Department must have been a mistake.
Stating that “I don’t understand how I got mixed up in this,” Zhabykin added that Suex had largely been a failure, having only three employees and conducting only a handful of transactions since 2019.