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US DOJ to crackdown on crypto exchanges, NCET director says - FT

Published 05/15/2023, 01:59 AM
Updated 05/15/2023, 02:35 AM
© Reuters.

(Reuters) - The U.S. cryptocurrency enforcement tsar has said that the country was stepping up scrutiny of crypto exchanges to target illicit behavior on the platforms, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is targeting crypto companies that engage in crimes themselves or allow crimes like money laundering to happen, Eun Young Choi, director of the agency's National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET), told the FT.

“... they're allowing for all the other criminal actors to easily profit from their crimes and cash out in ways that are obviously problematic to us,” she said.

"And so we hope that by focusing on those types of platforms, we’re going to have a multiplier effect."

The DOJ in March charged Vietnamese national Minh Quoc Nguyen with money laundering and identity theft in connection with crypto platform ChipMixer's operations, claiming that Nguyen openly flouted financial regulations.

With the novel crackdown on crypto firms, the DOJ aims to ramp up this scrutiny, sending a "deterrent message" to businesses that have been able to avoid anti-money laundering or client identification rules, and who were not investing in solid compliance and risk mitigation procedures, Choi said.

The NCET director, without naming any specific entity, said that a company's size "is not something that the department will countenance" while weighing potential charges.

The Justice Department will also focus on crimes related to decentralised finance, particularly "chain bridges", where users can exchange different types of digital tokens, or nascent projects with codes that are vulnerable to such attacks, she added.

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