Russians Arrested For Buying Venezuelan Oil With Cryptocurrencies

Two Russians were arrested in recent days after negotiating with Venezuelans to buy oil with payments via cryptocurrencies, while three other people are still wanted by the United States for committing the same crime.

Both Russia and Venezuela are countries with multiple people on the US Treasury Department’s sanctions list. This means that if they are caught trading on the international market, they can be arrested and extradited to the US to respond to the crime of evading sanctions.

In the case of Russia, the country has been under pressure since it invaded Ukraine in February 2022, so the so-called “Russian oligarchs” are some of the main targets of the US government.

In Venezuela, the dispute stems from previous years following disagreements between governments that led to the South American country being on the sanctions list, including its president, Nicolas Maduro, with international restrictions.

Two Russians Arrested After Negotiations With Cryptocurrencies To Buy Oil With Two Venezuelans

The US Justice Department has confirmed that two Russians were arrested on October 17, Yury Orekhov in Germany and Artem Uss in Italy. The arrests were made at the request of the US and are now awaiting extradition proceedings.

Three other Russians are wanted for the same crimes, namely international smuggling, tax evasion and money laundering. The arrested Russians represented Russian oligarchs on the sanctions list, according to the US.

For a US prosecutor, the arrest of the two Russians is a disruption of Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine.

“As alleged, the defendants were criminal enablers for oligarchs, who orchestrated a complex plan to illegally obtain US military technology and Venezuelan-sanctioned oil through a myriad of transactions involving shell companies and cryptocurrencies.

Their efforts undermined security, economic stability and the rule of law around the world. We will continue to investigate, harass and prosecute those who fuel Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine, avoid sanctions and continue the shadow economy of transnational money laundering.”

Suspects charged with attempting to steal US military technology

In addition to the various crimes that the five Russians and two Venezuelans are already suspected of, they are also accused of trying to steal US military technology to facilitate criminal actions.

For this, they would have used empty companies to buy US military equipment, which would favor Russia in the war against Ukraine.

The US Justice Department is still investigating the case and considers the suspects innocent until the situation has been fully investigated. If convicted, they could face up to 30 years in prison.

Source: Live Coins