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FinCEN Identifies Virtual Currency Exchange Bitzlato as a “Primary Money Laundering Concern” in Connection with Russian Illicit Finance
Financial Crimes Enforcement Network
WASHINGTON— Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an order that identifies the virtual currency exchange Bitzlato Limited (Bitzlato) as a “primary money laundering concern” in connection with Russian illicit finance. This is the first order issued pursuant to section 9714(a) of the Combating Russian Money Laundering Act, as amended, and highlights the serious threat that business operations that facilitate and support Russian illicit finance pose to U.S. national security and the integrity of the U.S. financial sector. The order prohibits certain transmittals of funds involving Bitzlato by any covered financial institution.
In the order, FinCEN determined that Bitzlato is a financial institution operating outside of the United States that is of primary money laundering concern in connection with Russian illicit finance. Bitzlato plays a critical role in laundering Convertible Virtual Currency (CVC) by facilitating illicit transactions for ransomware actors operating in Russia, including Conti, a Ransomware-as-a-Service group that has links to the Government of Russia.