Mysterious Russian crypto exchange SUEX achieved the dubious honor of being the first to face sanctions from the US Department of the Treasury.
This is reportedly due to over 40% of its crypto transactions involving illicit proceeds, including those resulting from eight ransomware campaigns.
The Treasury’s sanctions list two company directors — Vasili Zhabykin and Tibor Bokor. Corporate filings omitted three other shareholders.
SUEX has just three crypto markets
SUEX, which stands for “Successful Exchange,” only lists three trading pairs on its “markets” page: BTC/USD, ETH/USD, and USDT/USD.
It also kept an arbitrage page. This supposedly enabled SUEX users to exploit crypto price differences between Bitfinex, LocalBitcoins, Poloniex, Bitstamp, and EXMO.
According to the sanctions, many wallets associated with SUEX were drained over a year ago.
They haven’t been touched since.
The last transactions show most of SUEX’s crypto was moved to Huobi and Binance, two of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, before vanishing in a haze of shared hot wallet movements (now untraceable).
Where’s the company’s AML policy?
Instead, users are offered an affiliate program and prompted to “buy cryptocurrencies with a credit card.”
In any case, the US Treasury has now added SUEX to its list of Specially Designated Nationals — rendering it illegal for Americans to interact with it at all.
“Virtual currency exchanges such as SUEX are critical to the profitability of ransomware attacks, which help fund additional cybercriminal activity,” said the Treasury in a press release.
“Treasury will continue to disrupt and hold accountable these entities to reduce the incentive for cybercriminals to continue to conduct these attacks.”
In November 2018, the Treasury sanctioned two Bitcoin addresses allegedly tied to Iranian perpetrators behind a ransomware strain known as SamSam.
Still, SUEX is officially the first crypto exchange to receive such treatment.
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