US Sanctions Suex Exchange for Role in Ransomware Payments

The United States Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control has appeared in the news again, but this time, with the sanction of Suex, a Prague-registered crypto company over illicit transactions with high-risk sources.

Yesterday, government officials disclosed in a release that the crypto exchange, Suex, has facilitated cashouts from scam operators, ransomware gangs, and BTC-e, a crypto exchange shut down years ago by the U.S. Department of Justice. The release also revealed no fewer than 25 wallet addresses belonging to the exchange.

The Suex investigation, which was Chainalysis-assisted, discovered that the exchange since 2018 has received over $160 million in Bitcoin from criminal gangs and high-risk sources. Among them are deposits from darknet markets, particularly the Russia-based Hydra, which is likely the largest of its kind in the globe.

While speaking to newsmen, Gurvais Grigg of Chainalysis said, “The way to disrupt ransomware is by going after the ransomware supply chain.” He added that “We’ve been looking at Suex for a while, but it takes time for entities like Treasury and OFAC to make their business case.”

Ransomware has become one of the major political issues in the U.S, especially after its high-profile attacks on the country’s infrastructure. Recall it played an active role in a June summit between the U.S and Russian president. Biden administration recently ordered a major investigation into ransomware attacks on JBS, a major meat supplier.

Interestingly, the increase in ransomware activities within the public has been profitable for blockchain analytic firms like Chainalysis who specializes in tracking crypto transactions.

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