BitRiver, Russia’s largest data center services provider, is considering filing a lawsuit against the US Treasury Department for adding the company to the sanctions list last month. In addition, the firm accused the US of violating WTO rules by promoting unfair competition and lobbying on behalf of the US mining industry.

BitRiver called the US accusations “baseless and false”

According to its press release, BitRiver argued that it is a 100% private company with no interests affiliated with the Russian government, thereby claiming its innocence of helping the regime circumvent sanctions. He also claimed that the wrongfully imposed sanction has caused “direct reputational damage” to his operations.

On April 20, the Treasury Department announced sanctions against BitRiver, prohibiting it from doing business with US citizens. The authority said that Russia has significant “comparative advantages” in cryptocurrency mining, and raised concerns that individuals or companies could use cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions.

BitRiver refuted such a point in the statement, noting that it had always adhered to corporate governance, abiding by the laws in its operating jurisdictions. In particular, the company prided itself on its strict AML/KYC compliance, praising that its track record of operations in Russia and other jurisdictions had come as no surprise to watchdogs.

BitRiver attributed the Treasury Department’s sanction to the intent to “protect local businesses.” The Russian mining giant called the action of the US authorities “irresponsible”, claiming that neither the legal framework nor adequate reasoning could support such an act.

Despite the imposed sanction that may harm its business, BitRiver reaffirmed that the facility continued to operate normally and communicate with clients abroad:

“Currently, all BitRiver companies, production sites and offices in Russia are operating as usual. The company continues to provide services to international clients who have confirmed their cooperation and these are the majority”.

IMF warned of sanctions evasions through cryptocurrencies

A day before the US authority imposed sanctions on BitRiver, the IMF warned that Russia could use cryptocurrencies and significantly boost its mining industry to avoid any economic repercussions. The global authority also noted that “mining energy-intensive blockchains like Bitcoin can allow countries to monetize energy resources, some of which cannot be exported due to sanctions.”

However, the crypto industry tended to believe otherwise, considering the use of digital assets like Bitcoin to evade sanctions to be a myth. Binance CEO CZ said in an interview last month that “no smart person” would choose crypto to do that because it’s “too traceable,” and governments are getting better at tracking such transactions.

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