The cost of the accounts ranges from $50 to $300, depending on the availability of verification

​Russians more often buy other people’s accounts on crypto exchanges to bypass sanctions

27.01.2023 - 09:40


3 min

What’s new? Clients of crypto exchanges from Russia are increasingly buying accounts to bypass blocking. In a conversation with Kommersant journalists, experts report that the number of offers to sell verified wallets on trading platforms has doubled since the beginning of 2022. They also warned that these services are unreliable, as the real owner of the account can regain access to it. Accounts cost anywhere from $50 to $300, depending on the availability of verification (KYC).

Kommersant’s material

What do experts say? Nikolai Chursin, an analyst with Positive Technologies’ Threat Analysis Group, told that the average cost of account credentials (login and password) is $50. If there is a QR code for the two-factor authentication, the full package of identification documents, mail, and cookies the cost will be ~$300.

The price depends on the country and the date of account registration (the older it is, the higher the cost), as well as on the history of activity, said Dmitry Bogachev, the expert of the analysis group of external digital threats “Infosystems Jet.” Match Systems CEO Andrey Kutin added that usually, the starter package contains data for logging into the account, backup means of access, details for receiving an SMS, and the passport of the nominee.

After EU sanctions were tightened, many crypto services began blocking customers from the Russian Federation or preventing withdrawals to Russian bank cards. However, not only regular traders but also attackers resort to buying other people’s accounts. Due to the growing number of hacks of crypto projects, centralized exchanges (CEXs) are “an excellent vehicle for laundering any dirty assets,” said Berezka DAO and Weezi co-founder Roman Kaufman

According to lawyers, it is difficult to talk about responsibility for such actions from the point of view of Russian legislation. Elena Mende, the lawyer of the Baltic Bar Association named after Anatoly Sobchak, explained that it is theoretically possible within the scope of Article 174 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Legalization (laundering) of money or other property acquired by other persons by criminal means) but with a lot of reservations and accompanying actions, for example, withdrawal from a crypto exchange to a bank account.

Dmitry Zharsky, director of the Veta Expert Group, stated that the very fact of purchasing someone else’s account does not form an offense or a crime, because it is not property, unlike cryptocurrency, specifying that digital assets under the current laws are recognized as property, respectively, when making trades with them, personal income tax must be paid.

In December 2022, services for the return of blocked crypto assets of Russians appeared on the dark web. Experts emphasize that when applying for this service, the risk of encountering fraudsters has significantly increased.

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