Crypto-exchange Binance has closed the accounts of relatives of high-ranking Russian officials. The accounts of Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov's daughter Lisa Peskova, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's stepdaughter Polina Kovaleva, and Tsargrad TV channel owner Konstantin Malofeev's son Kirill Malofeev were blocked, Bloomberg reports.
The blocks are part of the exchange's effort to verify users associated with sanctioned individuals. «Our compliance checks are proactive and aimed at identifying and deterring financial crime risks,» Binance stated.
Exchange officials said Peskova's account was blocked on March 3. Then she tried to use the service through a third-party broker. The next day, Peskova came under U.S. sanctions. Kovaleva's account was blocked on March 24, the same day she was hit by U.K. sanctions. Malofeev was blocked in late April. On April 20, he was included in the sanctions list of the U.S. Ministry of Finance.
On April 22, it was reported Binance had been transmitting data on people who donated money to Alexei Navalny's team to the Russian authorities. Gleb Kostarev, head of the crypto-exchange's Eastern Europe and Russia branch, said he «did not have much choice», nor an opportunity to refuse «cooperation.» Meanwhile, Binance's management told Reuters that «the Russian authorities have never contacted it about Navalny.» However, the management of the exchange had to respond to «relevant requests from the regulators» based on the agreement with the authorities. Such cooperation has been in place since April 2021.