The US Department of the Treasury has suggested a series of sanctions against crypto exchange Chatex on suspicions of being involved in ransomware operations. It has accused the exchange of facilitating ransomware payouts via its platform and indicted two Russian and Ukrainian ransomware operators.
“Chatex, which claims to have a presence in multiple countries, has facilitated transactions for multiple ransomware variants,” the statement read. It added, “Analysis of Chatex’s known transactions indicate that over half are directly traced to illicit or high-risk activities such as darknet markets, high-risk exchanges, and ransomware.”
The press release noted that the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) has included Chatex to its sanctions list alongside affiliated entities IZIBITS OU, Chatextech SIA, and Hightrade Finance Ltd.
After analyzing Chatex’s transaction history, more than half of the transactions were directly linked to fraudulent or high-risk activities from darknet markets, high-risk exchanges, and ransomware.
Furthermore, the Latvia-based exchange was found to have a direct relationship with the Russia-based crypto exchange Suex, which was sanctioned by the US government in September. Egor Petukhovsky is the co-founder of both Chatex and Suex, according to information provided by TRM Labs.
The Latvian government immediately suspended operations of Chatextech and has imposed fines on the company for violating laws and regulations.
In addition, OFAC has sanctioned Ukrainian national Yaroslav Vasinskyi, 22, and Russian national Yevgeniy Polyanin, 28, for being involved in a ransomware attack in the United States. Vasinskyi was arrested in Poland whereas defendant Polyanin is still on the run.
Vasinskyi allegedly led a ransomware attack on US IT company Kaseya in July. Meanwhile, Polyanin also targeted several US government agencies and private companies in ransomware attacks.