Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has shut down several crypto exchanges reportedly involved in illegal financial transactions since the start of 2021.
According to a statement by the SBU on Wednesday, the network of “clandestine cryptocurrency exchanges” were based in the country’s capital Kyiv and collectively processed a monthly turnover of $1.1 million in funds linked to criminal activity.
The SBU’s announcement claimed that the illegal crypto exchanges provided anonymous transaction services, which made them a money laundering risk. Indeed, Ukraine’s state security service stated that some individuals funneled funds through these platforms to organize protests across the country.
According to the SBU, these illegal funds came from e-wallets linked to banned Russian payment processors such as Qiwi, WebMoney and Yandex.
Ukraine’s state security service also reportedly recovered computers containing evidence of suspected illegal activity and allegedly forged incorporation documents for the companies during raids of the crypto exchange platforms.
The news of the shutdown comes on the heels of a similar raid against a warehouse suspected of diverting electricity to mine cryptocurrency using PlayStation 4 consoles. However, an investigation by Delo, a local business publication, revealed that the facility was being used to generate in-game currency and not for farming crypto.
Meanwhile, as previously reported by Cointelegraph, Ukraine’s parliament is considering a new bill to legalize crypto payments in the country. However, the legislative action will not change the status quo of Bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrencies not being classified as legal tender in Ukraine.
The country’s central bank is also working on a national digital currency project. The National Bank of Ukraine received official authorization to issue a central bank digital currency (CBDC) back in July. The Ministry of Digital Transformation partnered with the Stellar Development Foundation on a joint strategy for digital assets and CBDCs.