The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said Thursday that it has sanctioned three employees of the Russian-based Internet Research Agency for its interference in U.S. elections as well as a series of associated cryptocurrency addresses.
Thursday's statement and accompanying details included specific addresses for Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Zcash, Bitcoin SV and Dash as part of the financial sanctions. The Internet Research Agency (IRA)'s use of cryptocurrency was established back in 2018, when U.S. prosecutors accused the firm of participating in Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election. The IRA is a so-called troll farm, the activities of which are focused on spreading misinformation via digital channels.
OFAC said in its statement Thursday:
"Today, Treasury also designated three IRA actors pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended by E.O. 13757, and E.O. 13848 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRA, an entity designated pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, and E.O. 13848. Russian nationals Artem Lifshits, Anton Andreyev, and Darya Aslanova, as employees of the IRA, supported the IRA’s cryptocurrency accounts. The IRA uses cryptocurrency to fund activities in furtherance of their ongoing malign influence operations around the world."
The 2018 indictment against IRA noted that maintained accounts on unnamed cryptocurrency exchanges, which they allegedly obtained falsified identification documents.
It's unclear if the three individuals named are involved in ongoing efforts to interfere with this year's U.S. presidential election. Another person named in the sanctions release, Ukrainian parliament member Andrii Derkach, was sanctioned "for his efforts to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election."
Update: This story has been updated to reflect that a Dash address was included in the sanctions list.