U.S. Treasury Sanctions Russian Paramilitary Group’s Crypto Wallets

Key Takeaways

  • The US Treasury has sanctioned several crypto addresses tied to Task Force Rusich, a Russian paramilitary group.
  • Five addresses belonging to the group were sanctioned; those addresses hold Bitcoin, Ethereum, and USDT.
  • Task Force Rusich is considered an extremist Neo-Nazi group and has been accused of atrocities against soldiers.

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The US Treasury has sanctioned five cryptocurrency addresses tied to an extremist Russian paramilitary group.

Russian Extremist Group Faces Sanctions

A Russian extremist group has had its crypto wallets sanctioned.

On September 15, the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated a Russian group called Task Force Rusich along with its cryptocurrency addresses.

Five cryptocurrency addresses belonging to Task Force Rusich have been sanctioned. Two of those addresses hold Bitcoin, two hold Ethereum, and one holds USDT on the TRON blockchain.

Reports elsewhere suggest that thousands of dollars worth of cryptocurrency have moved through those wallets. Some addresses were active as recently as September 14.

The US Treasury describes Task Force Rusich as a Neo-Nazi paramilitary group that fought alongside Russia’s military during this year’s war in Ukraine. In 2015, members of the group were filmed committing “atrocities against deceased and captured Ukrainian soldiers,” it says.

The group has origins in St. Petersburg, Russia, and exists under different several aliases, including “Rusich Sabotage and Assault Reconnaissance Group” and “Military-Patriotic Club Rusich.” It is sometimes considered part of the larger and more infamous Russian paramilitary organization, the Wagner Group.

Today’s announcement also added and removed several other subjects from the Treasury’s sanctions list. The other individuals and organizations named in today’s announcement were located in Russia, Zimbabwe, and Libya.

None of the other individuals or organizations named today had crypto addresses associated with their names. Yesterday, however, the Treasury sanctioned several Bitcoin addresses in connection with an Iran-based ransomware group.

More notably, the Treasury sanctioned addresses in connection to the Ethereum coin mixer Tornado Cash in August. This week, it clarified that those who used Tornado Cash lawfully have recourse to recoup funds they may have locked in the protocol.

The US Treasury regularly includes crypto addresses in its sanctions. More than 180 digital currency addresses are currently named on its list of specially designated nationals.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned BTC, ETH, and other cryptocurrencies.

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