Leading exchange platform Binance in an interview with Bloomberg has announced that it has shut down accounts linked to relatives of officials in the government of Russia.
The exchange platform said the affected accounts include that of Polina Kovaleva, stepdaughter of Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, and that of Elizaveta Peskov, the daughter of Dmitry Peskov, spokesman to President Vladimir Putin. Kirill Malofeyev’s (son of Konstantin Malofeyev, a Russian oligarch) account was also blocked for violating US sanctions.
Polina and Elizaveta’s accounts were barred on the 3rd of March while that of Kirill was blocked this week as the platform continues in its search for accounts associated with sanctioned persons as per Chagri Poyraz, Binance Head of Sanctions during the interview.
The exchange platform had earlier refused Ukraine’s request to freeze the accounts of Russian users as it said it would only do so in compliance with legal sanctions and there will be no blanket sanctions on its Russian users.
Ukraine’s Minister of digital transformation applauded the news in a recent tweet, noting that everyone connected with Putin’s regime will feel the consequences of the war.
I've mentioned already that everyone connected with putin's regime will feel the consequences of war. So, news from @binance: company blocked cryptocurrency accounts of Kremlin's officials relatives. Ms. Kovaleva, Ms. Peskova and Mr.Malofeev can't avoid sanctions anymore.
— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) April 29, 2022
Leaders around the world had in the wake of the war expressed concerns about Russia deploying cryptocurrency to evade sanctions but Binance’s boss Zhao Changpeng believes transactions in crypto are traceable.
The sanctions were imposed on the Russian elites for enabling the war in Ukraine, although the measures are yet to dissuade Putin from continuing the war.
The exchange platform last week announced the restrictions on its services in the country after the fifth wave of the European Union’s sanctions on Russia. It restricted the accounts of individuals and companies with over €10,000 to withdrawals only while also introducing stiffer Know Your Customer procedure.
As part of efforts to provide succor to its Ukrainian users, Binance in partnership with Contis earlier in the week, launched a crypto card to help users change their digital assets into fiat currency while enabling payments from anywhere across the globe. It has also through its dedicated arm Binance Charity provided donations in stablecoins for victims of the war.