The Lithuanian Financial Crime Investigation Service (FNTT) has fined Payeer, a digital asset depository operator and virtual currency exchange center, for violating international sanctions.

The FNTT has imposed a fine of 9.29 million euros ($10 million) on Payeer. The government agency found that the Lithuanian Payeer may have been the successor to Payeer, a company previously registered in Estonia that lost its virtual asset service provider (VASP) license in 2023. Payeer in Lithuania may have been created to continue the activities of its Estonian predecessor that were incompatible with international sanctions.

FNTT specified that Payeer UAB owns the cryptocurrency platform, through which the company allowed its clients, mainly from Russia, to carry out cryptocurrency transactions in pairs with the Russian ruble by transferring assets from Russian banks under EU sanctions. Russian individuals and legal entities were also provided with depository services and the ability to manage a cryptocurrency wallet and account.

The investigation established that over the past year and a half, Payeer provided services to at least 213,000 clients, and the company’s revenue amounted to more than 164 million euros ($177 million).

The Lithuanian government previously announced plans to reduce the number of cryptocurrency platforms operating in the country by introducing mandatory licenses. The Central Bank of Lithuania planned to start issuing licenses to cryptocurrency companies from July 1, with a complete ban on operating without a permit to be introduced by the summer of 2025.