Congress has urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to take decisive action against major crypto platforms Binance and Tether over allegations of involvement in illicit finance activities. This call to action comes in light of reports suggesting that some unregulated crypto asset intermediaries might have facilitated significant illicit finance activity over the past two years.
Congress turns up the pressure
In a formal letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland dated Oct. 26, lawmakers expressed deep concern about unregulated crypto asset intermediaries that have allegedly played a role in illicit financial activities.
The lawmakers have stressed the need to ensure that a few bad actors don't tarnish the reputation of the entire industry.
The Wall Street Journal reported that certain groups had received funding through crypto assets, although subsequent investigations have questioned the accuracy of these figures. Binance, a crypto asset exchange based in the Seychelles and Cayman Islands, has been linked to such illicit activities in the past and is currently under investigation by the DOJ.
Recent findings indicate that Binance may have knowingly facilitated transactions for entities engaged in terrorism and may have violated sanctions laws and the Bank Secrecy Act.
Additionally, Tether, a payment stablecoin issuer, is flagged for concern as it reportedly knowingly violates sanctions laws and the Bank Secrecy Act, despite its product being used for illicit purposes.
Tether responds to allegations
In an official statement, Tether countered the allegations, emphasizing its commitment to transparency and compliance.
The statement began by addressing the misinformation in recent reports, noting that independent investigations by Chainalysis and Elliptic have revealed inaccuracies in the data presented by mainstream media outlets. Tether also pointed out the vast discrepancy between reported figures related to illicit funds and the actual numbers.
Highlighting its stringent verification processes, Tether reinforced its commitment to regulatory compliance and collaboration with global law enforcement agencies.
The statement detailed Tether's track record, which includes freezing a cumulative total of $835 million tied to illicit activities and proactively collaborating with 31 law enforcement agencies across 19 jurisdictions.