© Reuters. Signage is seen at U.S. Treasury headquarters in Washington, DC, U.S., August 29, 2020. REUTERS / Andrew Kelly
(Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury Department said on Tuesday that crypto exchange Bittrex Inc had agreed to pay $29 million in fines for “clear violations” of sanctions against several countries and anti-money laundering laws.
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) fined Bittrex approximately $24 million and $29 million, respectively.
But under the terms of the agreement, FinCEN will transfer $24 million to OFAC after receiving a $29 million payment from Bittrex, as some of the breaches stem from “the same underlying conduct” as the meeting. OFAC investigation.
Effectively, Bittrex will have to pay a fine of around $29 million.
Bittrex failed to prevent people living in sanctioned jurisdictions of the Crimea region of Ukraine, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria from using its platform between March 2014 and May December 2017, according to OFAC.
FinCEN said its investigation found that between February 2014 and December 2018, Bittrex did not maintain an effective anti-money laundering program.
“Bittrex’s AML program has failed to address the risks associated with the products and services it offers, including anonymous-enhanced cryptocurrencies,” it added.
Cryptocurrencies and other digital assets have gained popularity in recent years and are increasingly tied to the regulated financial system, enabling policymakers to monitor risk. risk in a largely unregulated sector.
Bittrex in an emailed statement to Reuters said it was “delighted to have fully resolved” the matter with OFAC and FinCEN on terms agreed to by both.