UK Crypto Firms Must Now Report Sanctions Breaches, Freeze Accounts

The U.K. Treasury, the government’s finance arm, wants crypto exchanges and wallet providers operating in the country to report suspected sanctions breaches to authorities, updated guidance shows.

Crypto companies must freeze assets and report them to the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), an authority within the Treasury, if they suspect they are from a sanctioned entity. The guidance was updated to include “crypto assets” on Aug. 30, the Guardian reported on Sunday.

The U.K. is the latest western jurisdiction to explicitly include crypto in its sanctions rules. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February and countries worldwide imposed heavy financial sanctions on Russia, concerns arose that digital assets were being used to circumvent restrictions. Both the U.S. and the European Union have since clarified that their sanctions rules extend to crypto.

In July, Ukraine prosecutors seized about $3.39 million worth of assets, at the time, which included silver, land and apartments from brokers who allegedly facilitated crypto purchases for users in Russia and Russia-occupied territories.