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U.S. Treasury removes three Russian companies with alleged ties to hacker collective Evil Corp from sanctions list

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has removed three Russian companies — TsAO, Vertikal, and Unicom — from its list of sanctioned entities. They were first added to the list on December 5 for their alleged ties to Denis Gusev, whom U.S. officials say is the leader of the Evil Corp hacking collective. Evil Corp stands accused of stealing about $50 million in total from banks around the world.

The Treasury did not give a reason for removing the three companies from its blacklist. The Russian wire service Interfax has reported that they were initially sanctioned by mistake; it also noted that all three companies were founded by somebody named Denis Igorevich Gusev.

Denis Gusev of Evil Corp has claimed that while his name is identical to that of the firms’ founder, he has a different birth year and is therefore a demonstrably different individual. Gusev also told Interfax that while the “other” Gusev has Moldovan and Israeli passports, he has “never once been to Moldova.” Interfax noted that the founder of TsAO has a tax identification number that differs from Gusev’s.

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