UK digital assets firms to report sanction breaches
Under new rules enacted in response to concerns that Bitcoin and other crypto assets are used to circumvent sanctions imposed in Russia due to their invasion of Ukraine, digital assets exchanges must report suspected sanctions violations to UK authorities.
On August 30, official guidance by the UK authority for digital assets was updated to explicitly include "crypto assets" as assets that must be frozen if sanctions are imposed on a person or company. Cryptoassets, in addition to digital currencies such as Bitcoin, Ether, and Tether, could include other hypothetically valuable digital assets such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
According to the rules established by the Treasury's Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation, crypto exchanges will commit a criminal violation if they fail to report clients designated for sanctions. According to the rules, crypto exchanges must act immediately if they suspect that one of their customers is subject to sanctions or if they suspect a breach of sanctions, putting them in the same category as estate agents, accountants, lawyers, and jewellers.
Using cryptocurrencies to avoid sanctions and move money around the world was already prohibited in the United Kingdom under laws that apply to all "economic resources." However, the change highlights authorities' concern about the relatively new assets, which could help evade sanctions because users do not conduct transactions through regulated entities.
UK's response to Russian digital assets activity
Financial sanctions against individuals and companies associated with Vladimir Putin's regime have been among the UK's most visible responses to the invasion of Ukraine. Cryptoassets are subject to sanctions regulations, according to a joint statement from UK financial regulators released in March. The EU forbade significant cryptocurrency transactions with Russia in April.
Sanctions have been aimed at oligarchs and family members with direct ties to cryptocurrency. Among them was Vladimir Potanin, the "nickel king" and former second-richest person in Russia, who supported the Swiss blockchain company Atomyze.
Son of oligarch Mikhail Gutseriev said he held a stake in a cryptocurrency exchange in Belarus until August 2021 before being subjected to sanctions on the same day as Potanin in June. Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire in the metals industry, has previously pleaded with Russia's central bank to permit the use of bitcoin as a payment method. They have not been implicated in using crypto assets to circumvent sanctions.
Author: Priya Kumari
Priya is a passionate content writer and the co-founder of Finendorse. She is an enthusiastic crypto investor and has a huge interest in the upcoming digitisation age.