Binance Shuts Down Accounts Tied to Relatives of Prominent Kremlin Officials

Binance is implementing stricter measures to prevent Russian officials from easing the effect of financial blockades through virtual currency. The exchange has suspended numerous accounts of relatives connected to Russian Cabinet members. 

Reports show that Binance has been suspending accounts for more than two months, which corresponds to the invasion of Ukraine. Based on Binance’s statement, affected individuals include Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson’s daughter Elizaveta Peskova and foreign minister’s daughter Polina Kovaleva. 

Binance Steps Up Surveillance

Binance new global executive, Chagri Poyraz, expressed satisfaction with the work done so far regarding the measures implemented by the platform. Poyraz further clarified that the trading site suspended Peskova on the 3rd of March after trying to transact via a third-party brokerage. This led to her eventual sanction by the U.S. DOT eight days later. 

Meanwhile, Peskova was outraged by the restriction decision, labeling the action unfair and unnecessary. Peskova said she was astonished because it was strange sanctioning a 24-year-old that wasn’t responsible for the Ukraine crisis. She posted her outcry on her Instagram page a day after the financial restriction.

Poyraz said Binance wouldn’t stop carrying out its surveillance on the platform on people linked to sanctioned individuals who may tactically use any of its services. He further said the exchange’s surveillances are proactive and could detect crimes even before legal action is enacted against such individuals. 

Binance Limits Trading to Selected Accounts

Last week, the exchange enacted a new set of restrictions against Russian residents. The platform limited its trading services to accounts holding over €10k or the equivalent. 

Before then, Binance Chief CZ said the exchange would abode by the western sanctions. However, it won’t completely freeze accounts of innocent users over a war supposedly caused by the government. 

Binance reports that those related to sanctioned Russian Oligarchs and government officials had the majority of their crypto-assets in BTC. This happens despite Russia’s Central Bank’s hostility towards BTC and their sheer displeasure to allow cryptocurrency investments. 

Surprisingly, Russian laws banned some of its government officials, alongside their partners and children, from investing in virtual currency as a whole. 

The crypto blockades on Russia form part of EU’s restrictive measures against the country. Earlier this month, the European Parliament cut Russian residents from using some crypto services to prevent the country from circumventing the sanctions. 

The cryptocurrency prohibition was part of the three financial measures proposed by the Parliament. It included the freezing of assets linked to Russian banks, the suspension of transactions, and the proscription of offering trust advice to Oligarchs. Russian Central Bank said crypto-assets held by Russians amount to $130B. 

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