Sanctioned Russian Crypto Payment Processor Garantex Still In Business!

Garantex founder Sergey Meneleev
Spread financial intelligence

Russian crypto payment processor Garantex lost its Estonian crypto license in March 2022 due to money laundering activities and was placed on the U.S. sanctions list last April. Customers still sign the user agreement with Estonian Garantex Europe OÜ (now Kihonzi Buzhaga OÜ), but the website now gives an address in Moscow City as its official headquarters. With the Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev, Garantex founder Sergey Mendeleev established the Russian InDeFi SmartBank.

Garantex Key Data

Trading nameGarantex
Business activityCrypto exchange
Domainhttps://garantex.io (offline)
Legal entitiesKihonzi Buzhaga OÜ
Garantex Europe OÜ previous name
Tradingair OÜ (owner)
Legalexpert OÜ
Contact data[email protected]
[email protected]
Related individualsSergey Mendeleev (founder)
Raul Pint (nominee director)
Pier Kampor, Russia (LinkedIn)
Evgenia Burova, Russia (LinkedIn)
Vladimir Yelenskiy, Russia (LinkedIn)
Vladislav Rychagov, Russia (LinkedIn)
Stanislav Drugalev
Aleksandr Ntifo-Siao
JurisdictionsEstonia, Russia
RegulatorFIU Estonia
License statussurrendered in March 2022

The Garantex Narrative

The Garantex User Agreement as of 15 Sept 2023 still states Garantex Europe OÜ as the operator and Estonia as the applicable jurisdiction. However, the crypto company’s offices are located in Moscow City in Russia. The Estonian entity has been renamed Kihoni Buzhage OÜ. The Estonian Company Register lists Tradingair OÜ (66.67%) and Standislav Drugalev (33.33%) as direct company shareholders. Aleksandr Ntifo-Siao, Sergey Mendeleev, and Stanislav Drugalev are named as beneficial owners.

In February 2022, Estonian Garantex Europe OÜ, under Russian influence, was compelled to relinquish its cryptocurrency license. The Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit’s investigation revealed massive money-laundering issues. The Garantex allegedly handled an annual volume exceeding €5 billion, primarily serving merchants hailing from Russia and other nations deemed high-risk.

Subsequently, in April 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on Garantex, citing its involvement in ransomware activities linked to Russian criminal groups, and added it to the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list. However, as of our review on July 28, 2022, the crypto exchange continued to operate in a “normal” fashion, with a substantial portion of its operations still concentrated in Russia and Belarus.

Garantex founder Sergey Mendeleev etablished InDeFi SmartBank

The Similarweb analysis shows that Garantex is still fully in business. A September 11, 2023 analysis shows that more than 20,000 people visit the Garantex website daily, and the trend is rising.

In 2021, Russian Garantex founder Sergey Mendeleev, together with Russian businessman and oligarch Alexander Lebedev, most recently founded InDeFi Smartbank in Russia, which, as the name suggests, sees itself as a crypto bank offering financial services related to cryptocurrencies offering financial services related to cryptocurrencies. It offers customers a return of 12% to 30% in digital dollars.

Read our Garantex reports here.

Share Information

If you have any information about Garantex, its operators, and partners, please let us know through our whistleblower system, Whistle42.

CategoriesCrypto Schemes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *