Binance blocks Kremlin-linked accounts
According to Bloomberg, Binance’s new policies affected Elizaveta Peskova, the daughter of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, and Polina Kovaleva, the daughter-in-law of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The company also said it blocked Kirill Malofeyev, the son of Konstantin Malofeyev, a Russian oligarch previously accused of violating US sanctions.
In a tweet on Friday, Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation and one of the key players responsible for the government’s pro-cryptocurrency stance, mentioned the Binance blocks, adding that “everyone who is connected Putin’s regime will feel the consequences of the war”.
I have already mentioned that everyone connected with Putin’s regime will feel the consequences of the war. So news from @binance: the company blocked the cryptocurrency accounts of relatives of Kremlin officials. Ms. Kovaleva, Ms. Peskova and Mr. Malofeev can no longer avoid sanctions.
— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) April 29, 2022
The world’s largest crypto exchange has stepped up its efforts to comply with sanctions in response to concerns that Russians could use cryptocurrency to hide their wealth. Previously, on April 21, Binance imposed a series of restrictions on Russian nationals or residents of Russia, prohibiting trading in accounts over 10,000 euros, or $10,800. CEO Changpeng Zhao has previously said the company will respect the sanctions but will not “unilaterally freeze the accounts of millions of innocent users” due to Western sanctions imposed on Russia.
While Binance has said it will abide by the sanctions, it has also been accused of having close ties to Russia’s financial intelligence service. According to a Reuters report published on April 22, Binance provided Russian authorities with user data. Binance has denied these allegations.