Popular crypto exchange Binance has closed several accounts connected to relatives of sanctioned Russian officials since the start of the war in Ukraine, Bloomberg reported on 28 April.
According to the publication, the exchange has shutdown the accounts of Elizaveta Peskova, the daughter of Dmitry Peskov — the spokesman of President Vladimir Putin — and Polina Kovaleva, the stepdaughter of foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. Another blocked account belonged to Kirill Malofeev, the son of Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev, who was previously indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for violating U.S. sanctions. Binance’s global head of sanctions, Chargi Poyraz, said in a statement:
“What’s different is that our compliance screen operations are ‘proactive,’ aiming to detect and deter financial crime risk before any regulatory or legal action towards these individuals or entities.”
To support his claim, Poyraz noted that Peskova’s account was blocked on 3 March, when she attempted to use Binance through a third-party brokerage, a week before she was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department. Kovaleva’s account was closed on 24 March, the same day she was sanctioned by the U.K., while Malofeev had his account disabled this week, only days after he was designated by the U.S. Treasury. Poyraz also explained that Binance will continue to monitor its platform for people associated with sanctioned individuals.
Apart from blocking accounts connected to sanctioned individuals, Binance has also implemented new rules when it comes to Russia. Last week, the exchange announced new Know Your Customer (KYC) checks for Russian users, and also adopted a set of restrictions for Russian users who had crypto holdings above €10,000. The restrictions, however, will not apply to Russian individuals living outside of the country, and who can verify their address.