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March 15, 2022

Crypto transactions from Russia and Belarus banned in Japan

Following the introduction of anti-Russia sanctions by the Group of Seven (G7) last Friday, Japan has gone into full compliance mode, requiring all 31 active exchanges to block transactions involving Russia.

The measure comes after rumors of significant crypto liquidations related to Russians in the UAE surfaced, raising concerns about possible sanction evasion. In its reaction, the White House press stated:

“We will ensure that the Russian state and elites, proxies, and oligarchs cannot use digital assets to avoid or mitigate the impact of international sanctions, further restricting their access to the global financial system.”

The G7 nations, which include the United States, Germany, France, Canada, Japan, Italy, and the United Kingdom, met over the weekend to devise a new set of tougher penalties against the Russian government. The Kremlin government’s Most Favored Nation status would be revoked, and it would be barred from receiving any type of international financing in the future.

The White House also intends to curb the dissemination of Russian disinformation, reduce all trade relationships with Putin’s regime, and sanction senior Russian oligarchs thought to be close friends of the president.

Following claims of huge crypto-dumping by Russians to the UAE, concerns are growing that cryptocurrency will continue to be used as a viable means of bypassing sanctions. The G7 has now decided to prohibit all Russian access to cryptocurrency transactions, despite the fact that many experts have refuted assertions that cryptocurrency cannot be used to circumvent sanctions.

As the only Asian member of the G7, Japan will have to deal with the new resolution, which suggests 36-month imprisonment or a fine of $8,470 (1,000,000 JPY) for defaulters.

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So far, a comprehensive list of 10 Russia-linked groups, 44 Russians, 19 Belarussians, and 15 Belarus-linked organizations has been targeted, including both President Putin and President Lukashenko, and the Japanese government promises to extend the sanctions to all forms of crypto-assets, including NFTs.

VTB Bank, Novikombank, Bank Otkritie, and Sovcombank – four of Russia’s largest banks — will face sanctions on April 2nd. These banks will be withdrawn from the SWIFT interbank communication network, according to the EU.