The US Department of the Treasury and the US Department of Justice have included in their sanctions list the addresses of the Telegram bot for exchanging cryptocurrencies Chatex, as well as the companies affiliated with it Izibits OÜ, Chatextech SIA and Hightrade Finance Ltd.
According to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), more than half of Chatex’s confirmed transactions are directly related to illegal or high-risk activity, in particular to ransomware operators.
The OFAC has pointed to a direct link between Chatex and Russian exchanger Suex, which came under sanctions in late September. The co-founder of both companies is Russian Egor Petukhovsky. The office said:
“Chatex has been sanctioned for providing material support to Suex and for the threat posed by criminal ransomware. Izibits OÜ, Chatextech SIA and Hightrade Finance Ltd provided Chatex with material support and provided the infrastructure for the operation of the exchanger.”
Analytical company Chainalysis has established that since September 2018, Chatex processed Bitcoin transactions worth at least $77.5 million, including more than $17 million in criminal assets, including funds from darknet marketplace Hydra, scam projects Finico and QubitTech.ai and others, as well as the operators of several ransomware.
The sanctions list includes 30 Chatex cryptocurrency addresses in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether and Ripple networks.