Senator Cynthia Lummis, along with Representative French Hill, have sent a letter to the US Department of Justice asking them to make a determination regarding the ongoing investigation into Binance, the largest crypto exchange in the world, along with the world’s largest stablecoin issuer Tether.
Chatter about the investigation into Binance’s activities has been going on for some time now, with reports indicating that some DOJ attorneys believe a case should be filed and others not as certain. In the early days of crypto trading, regulation and compliance with AML/KYC rules were rather light on the marketplaces that facilitated trading. Today, Binance has been rushing to gain regulatory approval around the world while incorporating more stringent rules in dealing with its customers.
Tether provides an important service for the crypto-sphere as it is a path for digital asset traders when onboarding or offloading from trades when they want to quickly cash their funds in US dollars.
“When it comes to illicit finance, crypto is not the enemy – bad actors are.” – Senator Cynthia Lummis
Senator Lummis notes that crypto exchanges outside the US have been complicit in helping to finance terrorist activity, specifically mentioning the barbaric attack by Hamas on Israel. She asks the DOJ to “reach a charging decision” that reflects the culpability of Tether and Binance regarding illicit activity.
The letter states that Binance is an unregulated crypto exchange based in Seychelles and the Cayman Islands. A recent report claimed that Hamas operated more than 100 accounts on Binance to help raise and move their funds.
“Binance is also knowingly facilitating violations of application sanctions laws and the Bank Secrecy Act by failing to carry out adequate customer due diligence and screenings when it is keenly aware the exchange is being used to finance terrorism.”
Tether recently froze dozens of wallets that were allegedly tied to Hamas and “Russian-linked entities.” The letter states that Tether is under investigation for bank fraud and fraudulently accessing the US banking system.
Lummis and Hill are both Republicans and staunch supporters of Fintech and digital assets, so a letter from the two may help push the DOJ to move forward on any pending charges of the two firms. If charges are announced it may dramatically impact the global crypto ecosystem.
When it comes to illicit finance, crypto is not the enemy – bad actors are.
I sent a letter asking DOJ to finish its investigation and consider criminal charges against Binance and Tether after reports they served as intermediaries for Hamas and engaged in illicit activities. pic.twitter.com/M3KGNFkpWc
— Senator Cynthia Lummis (@SenLummis) October 26, 2023