US sanctions Russia suspected of Ryuk ransomware laundering

Sanctions imposed by the US. Russia is suspected of being the source of the Ryuk ransomware.

US sanctions Russia: The Russian person who is suspected of helping victims pay millions of dollars in ransom on behalf of people connected to the notorious Ryuk ransomware organization has been sanctioned by the U.S. government.

In a statement issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Treasury, Ekaterina Zhdanova, a 37-year-old woman, is charged with using virtual currency exchange transactions and fraudulent accounts to launder money on behalf of ransomware groups, Russian elites, and other individuals with malign intentions. This was carried out to help them get around the financial system restrictions imposed on Russia following their invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

When US sanctions against Russia for Ryuk ransomware money laundering first surfaced in 2018, it became well-known for its attacks on the US government. The group was linked to an attack on Universal Health Services, a significant US healthcare provider, in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the healthcare organization lost at least $67 million in income.

U.S Treasury building in Washington

According to OFAC, Zhdanova is suspected of providing a Ryuk ransomware partner with approximately $2.3 million in “presumed victim reimbursements” in 2021. Zhdanova is accused of transferring these illicit proceeds through virtual currency exchanges, such as the Russia-based Garantex exchange that was hit with U.S. sanctions in 2022, which lack proper anti-money laundering safeguards.

US sanctions Russia

According to OFAC, Zhdanova uses traditional businesses to maintain her ties to the international financial community. One such business is a high-end watch company that has locations all over the world. Chainalysis reports that a review of Zhdanova’s email account also reveals that she is now selling a 13-room hotel in Moscow for about 1,000,000 rubles a month, or $11,000 as of this writing. How this hotel company relates to her alleged money laundering activities is yet unknown, though.

TechCrunch used the number provided in the listing to contact Zhdanova via WhatsApp and Signal but received no response.

Zhdanova has been accused of helping foreign oligarchs with their virtual currency exchange transactions. According to OFAC, a Russian oligarch hired Zhdanova to assist him in moving more than $100 million worth of assets to the United Arab Emirates. She also provided identification cards and bank accounts situated in Dubai to additional clients and helped them get tax residences in the nation.

Assets to the United Arab Emirates.
Assets to the United Arab Emirates.

The governments of the United States and the United Kingdom placed sanctions on seven people in February who were thought to be connected to a shared network that was behind the Ryuk and Conti ransomware outbreaks as well as the well-known Trickbot banking malware. Shortly after the 30-year-old Russian citizen Denis Mihaqlovic Dubnikov was extradited to the United States and admitted to laundering money gained from the Ryuk ransomware, these sanctions came into effect.

You would also like to read :

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button