The Treasury Division on Friday sanctioned a Russian lady accused of laundering digital foreign money on behalf of the nation’s elites and cybercriminals, together with an affiliate of Ryuk ransomware.
Based on the Workplace of Overseas Property Management, Ekaterina Zhdanova labored to assist different Russians evade sanctions imposed on the nation’s monetary system after the invasion of Ukraine. In a single case, an unnamed oligarch approached Zhdanova about shifting $100 million to the United Arab Emirates, OFAC stated
In 2021, she allegedly laundered greater than $2.3 million of “suspected sufferer funds” for a Ryuk ransomware affiliate. She ran the funds by the Garantex cryptocurrency change, which was itself designated by OFAC in 2022.
Based on OFAC, greater than $100 million in transactions related to darknet markets and criminals have been performed on the change earlier than it was sanctioned.
“By way of key facilitators like Zhdanova, Russian elites, ransomware teams, and different illicit actors sought to evade U.S. and worldwide sanctions, significantly by the abuse of digital foreign money,” stated Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Monetary Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. The OFAC announcement doesn’t provide particulars about Zhdanova’s skilled background.
Ryuk ransomware wreaked havoc for years after rising in 2018. In 2020, amid Covid-19 lockdowns, federal regulation enforcement companies warned that the healthcare sector was underneath assault from Ryuk. The month earlier than, hospital chain Common Well being Providers had been hit with a Ryuk assault that in the end value the corporate $67 million.
In February, a Russian man pleaded responsible in an Oregon federal courtroom to laundering funds for Ryuk over the course of three years. He was accused of being a intermediary for the group alongside 13 unnamed co-conspirators.
Sanctions in opposition to people like Zhdanova are sometimes extra symbolic than impactful, as Russians concerned in illicit exercise are unlikely to have property or enterprise pursuits in the US.
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