On the 1st of February, the US Treasury sanctioned two cryptocurrency addresses in Bitcoin and Ethereum linked to an arms dealer in Russia. In a statement, OFAC, known as the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said that it had blacklisted Ethereum and Bitcoin addresses utilized by Jonatan Zimenkov, which is Igor Vladimirovich Zimenkov’s son.
According to the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, both father and son have worked together to run a sanctions evasion network that has provided a Russian company with high-technology devices after the invasion of Ukraine last year. In the statement, the OFAC said that Igor Zimenkov had worked closely with his son Jonatan Zimenkov and a broad network of companies and individuals to help Russian defense sales to third-country governments. According to the statement, both Igor and Jonatan have been in touch with sanctioned Russian defense companies.
In the statement, the OFAC said that the network had used front firms to send money within the network while trying to maintain a lawful impression. According to blockchain data, both of these Bitcoin and Ethereum addresses are not currently held any assets. It’s not the first time that the OFAC sanctioned cryptocurrency addresses and products, as it did several times before this latest one. Last year, the OFAC banned US citizens from using Tornado Cash, which was the most high-profile case. At that time, the OFAC claimed that criminals were using Tornado Cash to launder dirty funds.
Tornado Cash is basically a coin mixer app that allows its users to anonymously send and receive Ethereum. According to the OFAC, this coin mixer app has been used by Lazarus Group, a North Korea state-sponsored hacking group, to obscure stolen funds. But this ban angered many in the crypto community, such as one claimed that blacklisting an app punishes the wrong individuals.