Binance Holdings Ltd. has closed numerous accounts linked to relatives of key Kremlin officials in the midst of international sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Polina Kovaleva, the stepdaughter of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and Elizaveta Peskova, the daughter of President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov, have been blacklisted over the past two months, according to the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume.
Binance also said it had banned Kirill Malofeev, the son of Konstantin Malofeev, a businessman accused by the US Treasury Department of being the main source of funding for Russians promoting separatists in Crimea.
According to Chagri Poiraz, global head of sanctions in Vancouver, the exchange continues its checks to find new people associated with persons under sanctions who can use its services.
“What distinguishes our compliance verification activities is that they are ‘proactive’, trying to detect and prevent the risk of financial crimes before any regulatory or legal action is taken against these individuals or companies,” he explained.
According to Poyraz, a former compliance officer at HSBC Holdings Plc, Binance suspended the Garantex virtual currency exchange on March 11, a few weeks before the Office of Foreign Assets Control targeted the business.
The firm closed Kovaleva’s account on March 24, the same day she came under UK sanctions.
According to the company, this week Malofeev, who was included in the list of the US Treasury, was blocked this week.
Peskova, Kovaleva and Malofeev did not respond promptly to written requests for comment.
Following recent European Union sanctions against Moscow, Binance said last week it was restricting services in Russia, one of the largest markets in the world.
Binance has received praise from industry experts concerned about the potential evasion of sanctions using cryptocurrencies as a result of repression. However, this caused a reaction from those who consider the restrictions excessive.