The U.S. Department of the Treasury has blacklisted the addresses of cryptocurrency wallets owned by Xiaobing Yang, Fujing Zheng, and Guanggua Zheng. The Chinese are accused of money laundering and drug trafficking.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) ordered the seizure of Chinese property in the United States and blacklisted their email addresses, pass and several wallets storing Bitcoin and Litecoin. An OFAC press release stated that the Chinese were members of a criminal group that engaged in the manufacture and sale of deadly drugs. According to the agency, Fujin Zheng and Xiaobing Yang sent several hundred parcels with synthetic opioids to US residents. Sale of substances was carried out on the Internet, delivery was carried out by commercial courier services.
US officials believe that through their actions, the Chinese contributed to the opioid crisis, which annually takes from 47,000 to 70,000 lives. In the United States, the Chinese face a fine of up to $ 5 million and imprisonment for up to 30 years. Athena Blockchain Consul General Drew Hinks said all US agencies are required to comply with the Ministry’s order and freeze the bank accounts of criminals.
Last November, OFAC applied similar sanctions against two Iranian citizens who helped exchange Bitcoin coins received as a ransom from victims of SamSam malware. The effectiveness of these measures is a big question since attackers can open a new crypto wallet and transfer virtual currency to it from the address from the blacklist. To hide the transaction, they can use a mixer. It is unlikely that the accused will travel to the United States, so American justice will not be able to reach them. Thus, OFAC action is intimidating and has no practical significance.