Recently, several Democrat Senators have started pressing the Treasury Department for information regarding Russia’s potential evasion of sanctions through cryptocurrency.
Per a report from The Hill, several individuals sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen about the present status about sanctions, including whether or not the United States would be able to take any affirmative measures against Russia should the nation avoid financial pain via cryptocurrency transactions.
The letter was written by Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (Virginia); Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Sherrod Brown (Ohio); Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (Rhode Island); and Senator Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts).
The senators specifically questioned the Treasury Department’s present “progress in monitoring and enforcing sanctions compliance by the cryptocurrency industry” prior to raising concerns about the fact that various “rogue states” and “criminals” can harness “digital assets and alternative payment platforms as a new means to hide cross-border transactions for nefarious purposes.”
In addition, the group of senators also noted that the Sanctions Review from 2021, alongside other reports, have included stark warnings about “such digital assets and alternative payment platforms,” specifically in terms of “[evading American] and global sanctions, potentially undermining the efficacy of our sanctions regime.”
The legislators requested a response from the Treasury Department by March 23 regarding how its Office of Foreign Assets control will work alongside “foreign governments and other participants in the international banking community,” mainly to attempt “to ensure that cryptocurrency is not used to evade sanctions.”
The legislators also inquired if the Treasury Department would be able to provide the tools necessary to prevent other “cryptocurrency participants” that may be inclined to assist Russia, alongside other “malign actors,” in their quest to avoid “multilateral sanctions.”
Earlier in the week, Warren declared that it has been quite “clear” for a while that various “tax cheats,” “crooks,” and “drug traffickers” have benefitted richly from digital assets, as they constitute “a way to move money around without the authorities being able to track it.”
“So the question is, how does the Treasury assess the risk, and what are they doing about it?” Warren questioned.
“And that’s why we’re pushing right now on Treasury,” Warren added.