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US training Ukrainian law enforcement to target Russian oligarchs concealing assets

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The branch of the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that investigates financial crimes is training Ukrainian law enforcement agencies so the countries can work together to target financial networks used by sanctioned Russian oligarchs attempting to conceal their assets.

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The Criminal Investigation branch of the IRS is aiming to enhance existing information-sharing and potential case development between Ukrainian and US law enforcement agencies, the IRS-CI said on a press release on Thursday.

“Global financial crimes often consist of complex webs of offshore holdings and anonymous transactions. These trainings help participants hone their digital investigative skills to trace the source of blockchain funds and unmask cryptocurrency transactions with cryptocurrency forensic tools,” IRS-CI Chief Jim Lee said in a statement.

Around 50 Ukrainian law enforcement officers took part in a virtual training in April, with in-person training happening between May 11 and 16 for almost 20 Ukrainian investigators in Germany’s Frankfurt.

The training includes instruction on cryptocurrency and the technology behind digital currencies – blockchain.

“From the facilitation of donations to ransomware attacks and sanctions evasion, cryptocurrency is playing an unprecedented role in Ukraine in both good ways and bad,” said Michael Gronager, CEO, Chainalysis, a platform that provides data on blockchain technology that is involved in the training.

The IRS-CI conducts financial crime investigations, including tax fraud, narcotics trafficking and currently has 23 ongoing sanctions-related investigations.

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