KEY POINTS

  • Elizabeth Peskova, Polina Kovaleva, Kirill Malofeyev are relatives of Kremlin officials
  • Peskova is the daughter of Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman
  • Binance CEO CZ calls for world leaders to end the ongoing conflict between 

Binance, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchange platforms in the world, blocked the accounts of several individuals related to senior Kremlin officials in line with the international sanctions imposed on Russia.

Binance said it has blocked the accounts of Elizabeth Peskova, Polina Kovaleva and Kirill Malofeyev over the past couple of months. Kovaleva is the stepdaughter of Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov while Peskova is the daughter of Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman. 

Malofeyev, on the other hand, is the son of Konstantin Malofeyev, a Russian oligarch previously charged for violating the U.S. sanctions and accused by the U.S. Treasury Department of financing Russians promoting separatism in the Crimea peninsula which Russia annexed in 2014.

Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, speaks at the Delta Summit, Malta's official Blockchain and Digital Innovation event promoting cryptocurrency, in St Julian's Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, speaks at the Delta Summit, Malta's official Blockchain and Digital Innovation event promoting cryptocurrency, in St Julian's, Malta October 4, 2018. Photo: Reuters / DARRIN ZAMMIT LUPI

Chagri Poyraz, Binance's global head of sanctions, said on his LinkedIn account he is "Proud to be a part of this team that makes a real difference." Peskova's crypto account was blocked by the platform on March 3, when she attempted to use Binance using a third-party brokerage, Poyraz disclosed.

The U.S. Treasury Department, as part of the penalty for invading Ukraine, sanctioned Peskova and Peskov's wife and son in March. The United Kingdom also issued sanctions against Kovaleva in the same month.

Binance updated its sanction policy in April after appointing Poyraz as its director of sanctions compliance. The executive previously headed the anti-money laundering and sanctions programs of Coupang, South Korea's online marketplace.

The cryptocurrency platform has put in place a transaction cap on the accounts owned by Russians or those residing in the transcontinental country. Binance limited the in-account trading of these accounts to only 10,000 Euros or around $10,000.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, popularly known as CZ, said the company will strictly follow sanctions imposed by the EU but it will not "unilaterally freeze" accounts of millions of "innocent users." The CEO also called out world leaders to "do what is necessary to put an end to this brutal conflict and bring peace to the region for our users, employees, and countless other blockchain community members."