Cryptocurrency, with its anonymity and decentralization, has revolutionized financial transactions. However, it has also opened doors for illicit activities, such as terrorist financing. Below we explore the role of cryptocurrency in terrorist financing, focusing on Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization.
On November 20, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) instituted a civil enforcement action against Kraken, a major U.S. cryptocurrency exchange. The SEC alleged Kraken operated as an unregistered broker, dealer, exchange, and clearing agency, in violation of the Securities Exchange Act. The SEC’s lawsuit aims to prohibit Kraken from continuing these activities and seeks an unspecific amount of civil monetary penalties.
On November 21, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) unsealed its criminal indictment against Binance.com (Binance), the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, and its CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao (CZ). The indictment against Binance contains three charges: (1) conspiracy to violate the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) by failing to implement and maintain an effective anti-money laundering (AML) program; (2) conducting an unlicensed money services business; and (3) willful violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). On the same day, at a press conference also attended by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Russ Behnam, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Binance pled guilty to all charges, and the DOJ is requiring Binance to pay approximately $4.3 billion in criminal penalties and forfeiture. CZ also pled guilty to violating the BSA by failing to maintain an effective AML program. As a result, he must resign as Binance’s CEO and is awaiting criminal sentencing.
In this episode of The Crypto Exchange, Troutman Pepper Partner Ethan Ostroff welcomes his colleagues Mike Lowe and Matt Orso to discuss the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Illicit Finance Risk Assessment of Decentralized Finance (DeFi), which assesses how illicit actors are abusing DeFi services, as well as vulnerabilities unique to DeFi services.
On July 13, U.S. Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Roger Marshall (R-KS) introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that seeks to examine the adequacy of current anti-money laundering obligations (set forth in the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)) as applied to crypto assets, crypto asset kiosks…
In this episode of The Crypto Exchange, Troutman Pepper Partner Ethan Ostroff welcomes his colleague Mike Lowe to discuss crypto enforcement actions, including criminal enforcement actions related to cryptocurrency. Mike shares his experience in crypto enforcement during his lengthy tenure as a federal prosecutor.