Russian founder of sanctioned exchange Garantex starts Tether desk

Exved is a Russian firm that announced its launch yesterday, December 7th. The firm intends to enable exchanges between Tether (USDT), rubles, and the dollar. Sergey Mendeleev’s InDeFi Bank, a Russian bank, appears to have launched the project in collaboration with Exved. Mendeleev is also the founder of Garantex with Stanislav Drugalev, an Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) sanctioned entity.

Exved purports to only work with legal and compliant entities and is focusing its efforts on importers and exporters. In a since-deleted article from CoinTelegraph, Mendeleev claimed that the Exved’s mechanics have been approved by the Bank of Russia. 

One of the largest counterparties of the Hydra darknet market was Garantex, the other cryptocurrency exchange that Mendeleev founded. The announcement from OFAC details how Garantex lost its license in Estonia after review by the authorities found “critical AML/CFT deficiencies and found connections between Garantex and wallets used for criminal activity.”

Mendeleev is also the chief executive for InDeFi Bank, a firm with experience in the stablecoin ecosystem working on a tokenized ruble. InDeFiBank is also led by Alexander Lebedev, a former KGB agent. 

USDT has been an important tool for cross-border currency flows in Russia for years. In 2019, millions of USDT were crossing the China-Russia border every day, with firms such as Huobi Russia describing how Chinese firms in Russia found USDT to be one of the most effective tools to send value back to China. 

Read more: Tether gives FBI peek behind the curtain

Tether has recently enabled the United States law enforcement apparatus to have significantly greater access to its infrastructure, and those institutions may be interested in a Russian firm managing cross-border payments working with executives of already sanctioned firms.

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