OFAC Sanctions Virtual Currency Mixing Protocol Connected to Money Laundering Activities
OFAC sanctioned a virtual currency mixer responsible for laundering over $7 billion since its inception, as well as facilitating illicit activities for OFAC-sanctioned entities. This is the first time OFAC sanctioned a decentralized technology protocol instead of an individual, group or entity.
The virtual currency mixer was linked to several different criminal organizations and illicit activities, including (i) a heist carried out by a Democratic People's Republic of Korea state-sponsored cyber hacking group that stole $455 million and (ii) the laundering of a combined $104 million connected to two other virtual currency heists.
The mixer was designated pursuant to E.O. 13694 ("Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities") for materially assisting in cyber-enabled activities that are reasonably likely to result in a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, economic health or financial stability of the United States. The designation follows a previous OFAC designation of virtual currency mixer Blender.io (see previous coverage). Treasury and OFAC stated that they will "continue to investigate the use of mixers for illicit purposes and use its authorities to respond to illicit financing risks in the virtual currency ecosystem."
Available only to Premium subscribers.