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EPL crypto sponsor raises eyebrows by marketing to Russian users

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West Ham’s new partnership with DeFi crypto platform PEAKDEFI is facing criticism for actively promoting its cryptocurrency services to Russian users, causing concern about skirting sanctions.

Suspicions were raised about PEAKDEFI after football finance expert Martin Calladine found that the West Ham crypto partner is using just two major languages to promote its crypto services on Twitter: English and Russian.

West Ham partnered with Dubai-based PEAKDEFI in May 2022. The company was founded in 2020 and offered crypto wallets and various crypto staking and investment funds.

According to Calladine, “It is possible to purchase their tokens from the Russian Federation. So, they are deliberately and openly doing business in Russia,” (our emphasis).

He also claims the company runs an unlicensed lottery and suggests it may be a virtual pyramid scheme.

“The question here is why are West Ham advertising someone whose business could clearly be used… to breach financial sanctions,” (via Dailymail).

Calladine also tweeted, “West Ham’s crypto partner’s business model has pretty much every crypto red flag going. IMO anyone putting money into Peak defi will likely lose every penny.”

West Ham confirmed yesterday that it’s investigating the matter.

Russia considering stablecoins as sanctions continue to bite

Tensions are high as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine. The UK government banned the import of Russian fossil fuels this year and recently added crypto assets to a deny list for sanctioned individuals and entities.

So, if crypto exchanges and DeFi companies like PEAKDEFI are found to offer any crypto assets to sanctioned Russians or entities, they risk criminal prosecution.

Russia only just legalized cross-border payments using crypto as its own crypto regulations begin to relax. Yesterday it suggested that it might start to rely on stablecoins to bypass sanctions and conduct transactions with friendly countries.

MarketPeak, PEAKDEFI’s affiliate company, was founded by CEO Sergej Heck who also claims to have created two of the biggest crypto news outlets in Germany. Currently, MarketPeak’s crypto token (PEAK) has a market cap of $14,097,259 and trades at $0.010.

PEAKDEFI’s Medium account published one Russian article in 2020 while its affiliated YouTube channel MarketPeak offers content in both English and German.

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