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In a significant development, US lawmakers have formally requested the Department of Justice (DOJ) to initiate an investigation and bring criminal charges against two major players in the cryptocurrency industry, Binance and Tether. Senators Cyntia Lummis of Wyoming and French Hill of Arkansas jointly issued a letter to the DOJ, outlining concerns regarding the potential involvement of these companies in illicit financial activities.
The letter, dated Thursday, urges the Department of Justice to thoroughly assess the extent to which Binance and Tether may have provided support and resources for terrorism through alleged violations of applicable sanctions laws and the Bank Secrecy Act.
DOJ Urged to Charge Binance and Tether
Following recent reports suggesting connections between digital assets and terrorist financing, the US government has taken a proactive stance to investigate potential links between money laundering for criminal purposes and the cryptocurrency industry as a whole.
US lawmakers have now formally called on the DOJ to bring criminal charges against both Binance and Tether. Their request specifically calls for an investigation into the extent of support provided to alleged terrorist activities by these companies. The lawmakers expressed their support for “swift action by the Department of Justice against Binance and Tether to choke off sources of funding to the terrorists currently targeting Israel” in their letter.
Senator Cynthia Lummis also used her platform to address this request, emphasizing that “crypto is not the enemy, bad actors are” in the realm of illicit financial activities. She pointed out that the request came in the wake of reports suggesting that both companies “served as intermediaries for Hamas and engaged in illicit activities.
The lawmakers have called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to take decisive action against both Binance and Tether, urging him to “reach a charging decision on Binance that reflects their level of culpability and expeditiously conclude investigations into the ongoing illicit activities involving Tether.
Tether Responds to Calls for Legal Action
In response to the recent developments and calls for legal action, Tether has issued an official statement to address the concerns raised by US lawmakers.
Tether expressed its belief in the importance of “direct and transparent communication” and found it necessary to respond to the ongoing reports. The statement pointed out that reports suggesting “a significant volume of illicit funds channeled through cryptocurrencies” are based on “a highly erroneous interpretation of data.” They also refuted claims of a connection between criminal activity and digital assets.
Additionally, Tether reinforced its commitment to regulatory compliance and due diligence. The company highlighted its verification protocols and mechanisms, as well as its cooperation with law enforcement, demonstrating a dedication to combating illicit activities. Tether also disclosed its collaboration with 31 law enforcement agencies in 19 jurisdictions, resulting in the seizure of $835 million in illicit funds on their platform since its inception.
The developments surrounding the call for criminal charges against Binance and Tether have garnered significant attention within the cryptocurrency community. As this situation unfolds, it remains to be seen how it will impact the cryptocurrency industry and the ongoing efforts to regulate and oversee digital assets.
The decision by US lawmakers to seek criminal charges against Binance and Tether marks a significant turning point in the cryptocurrency landscape. It underscores the importance of regulatory compliance and the need for robust measures to combat illicit activities within the crypto space.
As this legal drama unfolds, the global cryptocurrency community will be closely watching, ready to adapt and evolve in response to the changing tides of regulation. Whether this will ultimately prove beneficial or detrimental to the long-term prospects of the cryptocurrency market remains to be seen.
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