Lithuania fines Payeer with USD10.1B for money laundering, sanctions violations

(MENAFN) Lithuanian authorities have announced an unprecedented fine of USD10.1 billion against the cryptocurrency firm Payeer, citing its involvement in money laundering activities and breaches of sanctions imposed on Russia. The Lithuanian Financial Crimes Investigation Bureau disclosed that Payeer facilitated transactions for Russian clients in Russian rubles, transferring funds from banks in Russia that are under European Union sanctions due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

The bureau's statement outlined that Payeer permitted Russian individuals and entities to create cryptocurrency wallets, manage accounts, and utilize data storage services. These actions allegedly violated sanctions regimes and anti-money laundering laws, prompting the hefty penalty against the company.

Lithuania, a member of both the European Union and the eurozone, has positioned itself as a significant center for fintech startups over the past decade. However, recent scrutiny over the misuse of digital assets for illicit purposes has led Lithuanian authorities to implement stricter regulations. A new licensing framework aims to curb the activities of cryptocurrency companies to mitigate risks associated with money laundering and fraud.

Payeer, registered in Lithuania, faces a substantial fine of €8.24 million for breaching sanctions on Russia and an additional €1.06 million for violating anti-money laundering regulations. The company retains the right to appeal the fine, although the case underscores Lithuania's firm stance on enforcing financial regulations amidst growing concerns over illicit financial activities involving digital currencies. 



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