US blacklists 23 digital currency addresses used in election interference

The U.S. Treasury Department has added four Russia-linked individuals to its sanctions list in connection with their alleged involvement in election interference. The department also added 23 digital currency addresses which it claimed were used to fund the operation.

Through its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the U.S. Treasury accused Moscow of using a variety of proxies to sow discord between U.S. political parties and influence voters. Russia has allegedly been using the Internet Research Agency, an alleged “troll factory,” to influence global events.

In its press release, the OFAC claimed digital currencies have been central to the IRA’s operations, stating, “The IRA uses cryptocurrency to fund activities in furtherance of their ongoing malign influence operations around the world.”

The OFAC listed 23 digital currency addresses that it claims have been used by the Russian organization to fund its activities in the U.S. Some of the other addresses have received larger amounts, with one transacting $595,000 worth of BTC while another has received $253,000 worth of ETH.

The OFAC also added four Russia-linked individuals to its sanctions list, accusing them of being used by Moscow to influence U.S. elections. One of them, Andrii Derkach is a member of the Ukrainian parliament, but the OFAC claims he has been an active Russian agent for a decade now. Derkach has been heavily linked with the Trump campaign for the 2020 presidential election. 

According to the Treasury, “Andrii Derkach and other Russian agents employ manipulation and deceit to attempt to influence elections in the United States and elsewhere around the world.”

Three other individuals—Anton Andreyev, Artem Lifshits, and Darya Aslanova—were also added to the sanctions list. The three Russian nationals allegedly operated the IRA’s digital currency accounts.

In a separate action, the Department of Justice (DoJ) has accused a 27-year-old Russian national of being involved in a similar crime. Artem Lifshits is the manager of Project Lakhta, a Russia-based effort to interfere with the U.S.’ political and electoral operations, according to the department.

Lifshits allegedly conspired with other Project Lakhta members to obtain identification documents of real U.S. citizens and then used them “to open fraudulent accounts at banking and cryptocurrency exchanges in the victims’ names.”

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