US Sanctions Russian Accused of Laundering Virtual Currency for Ransomware Affiliate
The US Treasury Department has sanctioned a Russian woman named Ekaterina Zhdanova for allegedly laundering virtual currency on behalf of Russian elites and cybercriminals, including a Ryuk ransomware affiliate. Zhdanova is accused of helping Russians evade sanctions by moving $100 million to the United Arab Emirates. She is also accused of laundering over $2.3 million of suspected victim payments for the Ryuk ransomware group in 2021. Zhdanova used the Garantex cryptocurrency exchange, which has also been designated by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The exchange reportedly conducted over $100 million in transactions associated with darknet markets and criminals before being sanctioned. The sanctions against Zhdanova are seen as symbolic as it is unlikely she has property or business interests in the United States.