The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) has shut down a number of “underground” cryptocurrency exchanges outside the capital city, Kyiv. Officials claimed the sites had been generating a million dollars in monthly revenue and reportedly moved the money to Russian payment providers’ digital wallets.

Payments and withdrawals could be made anonymously through the exchangers. Their services were mostly used by private individuals who frequently received payments to their electronic wallets from Russia-based payment service providers like Yandex. Money, Qiwi, and Webmoney are all considered illegal in Ukraine.

The SBU claims that some of the money was intended to fund provocations on the eve of Ukraine’s Independence Day, August 24. According to the security service, the organizers obtained funds from these exchangers to pay protesters.

The agency detailed:
“The network has been operating since the beginning of 2021. During this time, it “served” more than 1,000 “clients.”
SBU agents seized computers and server hardware, cellphones and mobile terminals that prevented geolocation, documents of fictitious entities registered in Ukraine, and foreign cash equivalent to 1 million hryvnia (around $37,000) during five raids on addresses in Kyiv’s Pechersky, Shevchenkivsky, and Solomyansky districts.

According to the Security Service of Ukraine, the operators of the websites charged a commission of between 5 and 10% on the transmitted funds. The inquiry is still ongoing to determine any criminal activity involving the network’s activities and the people involved, including documents, monies, and equipment, as well as money laundering.

This year, the SBU has been focusing on illicit actions involving cryptocurrency, and it has made several mistakes in the process. According to Forklog’s research, it identified a gang reportedly engaged in the legality of illicit monies and their illegal transfer in April. The case, according to Nikita Knysh, CEO of Hackcontrol, included a bitcoin offline exchanger owned by partners in a different firm, and the claims of fraud and money laundering were untrue.

The security service stated in July that it had discovered Ukraine’s “biggest illegal crypto farm” to date and confiscated roughly 5,000 items of hardware from a warehouse in Vinnytsia, including 3,800 game consoles and 500 video cards.

It was eventually revealed that the facility was a lawful data center run by an IT firm. The Playstation 4 Slims in the photographs supplied by the SBU were most likely used for gaming purposes, according to Ukrainian media.