Chatex received money from any address, without verifying its origin.
Addresses on the exchange held 42 NFTs valued at $ 531,000.
The United States Government continues to hunt down cyber criminal groups and the digital assets that they obtain, among other methods, through ransomware attacks.
According to investigations by the Treasury Department, the cryptocurrency exchange Chatex, located in Latvia, would have facilitated the laundering of digital assets from attacks with multiple ransomware variants. For this reason, he was sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
“Analysis of known Chatex transactions indicates that more than half are directly related to illicit or high-risk activities, such as markets on the Dark Web, high-risk exchanges and ransomware,” the agency noted in a release.
Elliptic firm, specialized in blockchain analysis details that the platform handled USD 325 million in crypto assets distributed in 30 addresses. In several of them there are non-fungible tokens (NFT), 42 in total, valued at a total of USD 531,000.
One of the directions involved leads to NFT’s Ethereum-based trading platform, OpenSea. There you can see the user «weery«, Which has various digital collectibles such as the Stoned Apez Saturn Club, Snap Universe, Hapebeast Genesis, Illuvium and more.
Further, 57 purses were sanctioned by OFAC of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero. Some of them had stablecoins like Tether (USDT), USD Coin (USDC), and DAI, as well as dozens of ERC-20 tokens tied to DeFi protocols.
For his part, the Undersecretary of the Treasury, Wally Adeyemo indicated that ransomware groups and criminal organizations seek to “undermine the backbone” of the US economy through attacks on companies and public institutions.
What does the US sanction imply on the exchange?
The sanction received by Chatex could imply negative consequences both for the company and for any person or entity based in the United States and having commercial ties with it.
As a result of today’s designation, all property and interests in the property of the designated targets that are subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US persons are prohibited from transacting with them. . (…) In addition, financial institutions and other persons who participate in certain transactions or activities with sanctioned entities and individuals may be exposed to sanctions or be subject to enforcement action.
Statement from the United States Treasury.
Millionaire ransomware attacks and rewards
One of the recent and most notorious cases was that of ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline, which caused fuel shortages in the southeastern United States. The company reportedly paid around $ 5 million in bitcoin (BTC) to hackers to get rid of the ransomware, a fact reported by CryptoNews.
It also highlights the attack on the technology company Kaseya, located in Miami, perpetrated by the REvil group that requested, at the time, USD 70 million in bitcoin to release the stolen information.
According to the Treasury Department, the United States has paid USD 590 million for ransomware attacks in the first half of 2021.
Faced with the large number of attacks, the administration of the president of the United States, Joe Biden decided to offer rewards to find the whereabouts of the people behind cybercrime groups anywhere in the world.
The rewards are up to $ 10 million for information that “leads to the identification or location of anyone in a key leadership position” in the hacker group. They also offer a reward of up to $ 5 million for information leading to “arrest and / or conviction” in any country of a person who “conspires to participate or attempts to participate” in a ransomware attack.
The ransomware attack is a method in which a key data set is stolen, which is then encrypted to block access to it. With the information in their possession, the hackers ask for a ransom.