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Russians Allegedly “Used Crypto Exchanges to Send USDT to UK” – Here’s How


Moscow Skyline.

Russians Allegedly “Used Crypto Exchanges to Send USDT to UK” – Here’s How

Moscow Skyline.
Source: Evgeniya/Adobe

The Russians are using “several” Moscow crypto exchanges to send Tether (USDT) to people based in the UK, according to a new report.

According to the Russian branch of the NGO Transparency International and the media The Bell, “several crypto exchanges” now “operate” in Moscow, where they “offer services” allowing Russians to “withdraw funds in cash” in the United Kingdom. .

The NGO said it had “become possible to transfer money out of Russia using crypto exchanges located in the international business center of Moscow.” [aka Moscow-City].”

Sanctions and counter-sanctions imposed strict controls on the movement of funds between Russia and foreign countries.

But Transparency International Russia said it found “eight Russian-based crypto exchanges that said they were ready to transfer USDT.” The platforms said they would “change the tokens to cash for delivery in London.”

A chart showing the market cap size of Tether (USDT) in USD over the past 12 months.
Tether (USDT) market cap size in USD over the last 12 months. (Source: CoinMarketCap)

The NGO wrote:

“Despite our [requests] make transfers which would result in the delivery of more than [$12,000] in cash (yes, bags full of cash), there was a distinct lack of curiosity from these exchanges about the identity of their customers.

How do Russian crypto exchanges send money to the UK?

Transparency International Russia added that its undercover agents “were not asked to provide a passport or any other type of identification for the exchange to take place”.

He said the exchanges only ask for “details of what the collector would be wearing and possibly the serial number of a banknote to prove their identity.”

The NGO noted that the London-based money couriers were “Russian-speaking”. And he said the transfer details were arranged using the Telegram chat app.

One of the exchanges was named Suex, a platform that was hit by US sanctions in 2021. Washington believes Suex enabled money laundering on its platform.

Failure to ask for customer identity details “is a direct breach of UK anti-money laundering laws”, the NGO noted.

The NGO added that its researchers were able to trace the history of a number of exchange-linked crypto wallets. And he said he discovered that some wallets had processed up to $470,000 worth of USDT.

The exchanges also appear to have handled smaller amounts of less popular crypto-assets, Transparency International Russia wrote.

Earlier this month, the Russian government’s anti-money laundering (AML) agency said it was monitoring some 25,000 users it suspected of committing AML violations.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.