US launches KleptoCapture force to tackle cryptocurrency use in Russian sanction avoidance

The US government has launched a new initiative to tackle the use of cryptocurrency and assets to circumvent new sanctions imposed on Russia.

On Wednesday, Attorney General Merrick Garland, through the US Department of Justice’s (DoJ) Office of Public Affairs, announced the creation of “Task Force KleptoCapture.” 

Ukraine Crisis

The team is described as “an interagency law enforcement task force dedicated to enforcing the sweeping sanctions, export restrictions, and economic countermeasures that the United States has imposed, along with allies and partners.”

A range of sanctions has been imposed on both Russia and Belarus due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which is currently on its eighth day. 

Sanctions include the removal of a number of Russian banks from the SWIFT global financial transaction system, travel bans, import and export bans on some goods, and asset freezes. 

KleptoCapture will include “targeting” those who try to use cryptocurrency to avoid US sanctions and those who are trying to launder the “proceeds of foreign corruption” or to “evade US responses to Russian military aggression.”

“The Task Force will be fully empowered to use the most cutting-edge investigative techniques — including data analytics, cryptocurrency tracing, foreign intelligence sources, and information

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