US Sanctions Russians are accused of using cryptocurrencies to influence the presidential election
The United States has punished some Russian citizens, a Ukrainian lawmaker, and their crypto addresses for interfering with the country's electoral process. The Russians are believed to be employees of a troll factory that previously targeted presidential candidates.
Intervention activities in US elections
The US Treasury Department announced Thursday that its Foreign Assets Control Office (OFAC) had "appointed four individuals with ties to Russia to try to influence the US election process. "
The Ministry of Finance alleges that "Russia uses a variety of proxy tools to try to cause discord among political parties and promote internal divisions to influence voters" with the aim of "undermining nations. and democratic institutions ”. The announcement explains that in the United States, "Russia used a variety of influencers and methods to target our electoral process, including targeting presidential candidates. USA."
Three of the four appointed - Russian citizens Artem Lifshits, Anton Andreyev and Darya Aslanova - are employees of a Russian troll plant known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA), the announcement added:
They already support IRA crypto accounts. The IRA uses cryptocurrencies to fund operations aimed at driving their persistent bad effects around the world.
The Ministry of Finance previously appointed troll factory and Russian financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin. The latter was designated to "provide material support to the IRA's influence activities against the 2018 US midterm elections".
Lifshits was also charged privately by federal prosecutors on Thursday. According to a statement by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), he was accused of being a "manager in the 'Project Lakhta', a Russia-based effort to engage in election and political intervention activities. treatment ”. Since 2014, "Project Lakhta has sought to conceal its behavior by operating through a number of organizations," the Ministry of Justice explained, including the IRA. Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers describes:
Artem Lifshits, conspired with others to steal American identities and use them to open fraudulent bank and crypto accounts.
Prosecutors said, “Lifshits and the alleged instigators used these fraudulently opened accounts to promote Lakhta Project influence and personal enrichment. ".
The fourth person to be punished on Thursday was Andrii Derkach, a member of Ukraine's parliament who has been a Russian spy for more than a decade and holds close ties with the Russian Intelligence Service, the ministry. Financial allegations. According to the report, he ran a campaign against former vice president and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin claimed that Derkach and "other Russian spies used manipulation and deception to try to influence elections in the United States and elsewhere in the world".
The notice of the Ministry of the Treasury continues:
Due to today's designations, all assets and benefits to the assets of these targets are within U.S. jurisdiction.
The Ministry of Finance also updated OFAC's List of Blocked Persons and Specially Designated Countries (SDNs) with details on the four individuals named above and their crypto addresses. Furthermore, “US Notice emphasizes, people are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them,” the notice stressed, stating that “In addition, any organization owned 50% or more is Up of one or more designated persons is also blocked. "
According to the reports, Russia has denied the allegations that it was trying to interfere in the US election. Meanwhile, Microsoft is believed to have identified hackers with foreign connections, such as Russia, China and Iran, attempting to break into the presidential camps of President Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
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