US TREASURY SANCTIONS RUSSIA-BASED HYDRA, WORLD’S LARGEST DARKNET MARKET, AND RANSOMWARE-ENABLING VIRTUAL CURRENCY EXCHANGE GARANTEX

On 5 April, a news release advised that OFAC had sanctioned the world’s largest and most prominent darknet market, Hydra Market, in a coordinated international effort to disrupt proliferation of malicious cybercrime services, dangerous drugs, and other illegal offerings available through the Russia-based site.  This action was enhanced by international cooperation with the German Federal Criminal Police, which shut down Hydra servers in Germany and seized $25 million worth of bitcoin. 

Hydra was launched in 2015 and is the most prominent Russian darknet market, and the largest darknet market left in the world.

Garantex is a virtual currency exchange founded in late 2019 and originally registered in Estonia.  It allows customers to buy and sell virtual currencies using fiat currencies and the majority of its operations are carried out in Russia, where other sanctioned virtual currency exchanges have also operated.

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0701

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20220405

https://www.wired.com/story/hydra-market-shutdown/

 

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Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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