According to October 11 press release, the Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the United States Department of the Treasury have taken enforcement actions against the cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex for allegedly violating sanctions programmes as well as the reporting requirements outlined in the Bank Secrecy Act, also known as the BSA.
The United States Treasury stated that cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex had reached a settlement with the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in the amount of more than $24 million for violating “multiple sanctions programmes” by failing to prevent individuals based in the Crimea region, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria from conducting approximately $263 million in cryptocurrency transactions between 2014 and 2017.
According to the Department of the Treasury, Bittrex did not conduct user screenings based on easily available location information in sanctioned countries by making use of internet IP addresses.
“When virtual currency firms fail to implement effective sanctions compliance controls, including screening customers located in sanctioned jurisdictions, they can become a vehicle for illicit actors that threaten U.S. national security,” said Andrea Gacki, director of OFAC’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). “Sanctioned jurisdictions include Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Cuba.” “Virtual currency exchanges that operate on a global scale should have a clear understanding of both who their consumers are and where they are located.”
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