Bittrex Coughs Up $53m To End Claims Of US Sanctions Busting

Bittrex will cough up $53 million after being accused of flouting US sanctions and breaking federal money laundering laws and other banking rules.

Specifically, the cryptocurrency exchange will pay $24 million to settle allegations made by the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and $29 million to the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to settle that agency’s claims. This will be OFAC’s largest virtual currency enforcement action ever, and the first parallel enforcement actions by the two federal orgs in the crypto-coin space.

Bellevue, Washington-based Bittrex allegedly did business with netizens in Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria, and Crimea, which would be in violation of US sanctions, according to OFAC. The Treasury argued that the virtual currency exchange should have known certain users were located in these sanctioned countries based on the IP and physical address info collected during the customer on-boarding process.

“As a result of deficiencies related to Bittrex’s sanctions compliance procedures, Bittrex failed to prevent persons apparently located in the sanctioned jurisdictions from using its platform to engage in over $263,000,000 worth of virtual currency-related transactions,” the settlement agreement reads.

To settle these charges, the crypto exchange agreed to pay $24,280,829.20

The digital money outfit also “willfully” violated America’s Bank Secrecy Act‘s anti-money laundering and suspicious activity report reporting requirements, FinCEN claimed. This ultimately cost the biz another $29,280,829.20.

Under this US law, banks and other “money services businesses” such as Bittrex must implement an anti-money laundering program to prevent criminals

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