Among the methods used are the transfer of the funds to an unblocked account, the renewal of accounts submitting fake KYC information, etc. The cost of such services may vary between 35% and 85% of the value of the assets that should be unblocked.
The “service providers” say they can operate in such leading exchanges as Binance, Huobi, Kraken and KuCoin. Some of them are said to have connections with the security service of exchanges.
But these offers often turn out to be fraud, note industry experts interviewed by Kommersant.
In October, the European Union tightened sanctions against Russia in terms of cryptocurrencies.
The new measures included a full ban on the provision of wallet, account, or custody services for crypto assets to Russian persons and residents. The measure was meant to apply regardless of the value of these assets, according to the eighth package of sanctions imposed by Brussels.
While BitMEX, Bitstamp, Gemini and WhiteBit blocked access to Russian users, some other exchanges — including Binance, Coinbase and Kraken— restricted the operations with users from Russia only partially.
Anna Avakimyan, chief analyst at RegBlock, told Kommersant that “from 10,000 to 20,000 Russians” had their access blocked, involving a total asset amount of “up to 3 billion rubles” (around $48 million at the current exchange rate).
While some crypto exchanges did not enforce the sanctions — unwilling to lose the promising Russian market — compliance risks are only growing as new sanctions packages from Western and other countries may come anytime.
Restrictions on crypto exchanges arise not only because of sanctions. Users may be blocked in relation with the origin of their funds. In case they do not meet AML requirements, the exchange is authorized to freeze the money. The case must be reported to the police or to Interpol, an industry expert told Kommersant.