U.S. lawmakers are increasing their pressure on the Justice Department to launch an investigation into Binance and Tether. Senators and Representatives are urging Attorney General Merrick Garland to take decisive action if the firms are found to be complicit in facilitating illicit financing, including support for terrorist groups such as Hamas. This latest move comes as concerns grow surrounding cryptocurrencies’ potential role in terrorism funding and sanctions evasion.
In a letter addressed to Attorney General Garland, Sen. Cynthia M. Lummis and Rep. French Hill emphasized the need for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to complete its investigation and consider criminal charges against Binance and Tether. The letter highlighted Binance’s history of ties to illicit financing and its failure to freeze accounts associated with Hamas. The lawmakers argue that this could potentially constitute providing material support to terrorists under federal law. Additionally, Binance is accused of willfully neglecting anti-money laundering requirements.
Meanwhile, Tether, despite reportedly freezing addresses linked to Hamas at the request of Israeli authorities, also faces compliance questions. The legislators stressed the importance of holding “bad actors” accountable, stating that any firms enabling illegal activities must face consequences. These actions by the DOJ and subsequent outcomes could significantly influence policy and enforcement measures surrounding illicit crypto financing in the future.
While acknowledging the risks associated with the pseudonymity of cryptocurrencies, the letter also emphasized the importance of distinguishing between companies seeking compliance with regulatory frameworks and those exploiting the technology unlawfully. Many firms within the industry aim to adhere to regulations and promote innovation lawfully.
The lawmakers expressed concerns over the potential negative impacts on lawful innovation if the actions of a few unscrupulous actors cast suspicion on the entire cryptocurrency industry. It is crucial to prevent the actions of illicit individuals from overshadowing the positive contributions and potential benefits that cryptocurrencies can offer.
According to the letter, Binance is an unregulated exchange based overseas that has a notorious history of facilitating illicit transactions. Multiple media reports have surfaced, revealing numerous Binance accounts linked to Hamas. As a response to this revelation, Israel reportedly ordered the closure of over 100 more accounts associated with the exchange. Lawmakers argue that Binance’s provision of accounts to terrorist organizations, despite public knowledge of the issue, could be seen as material support to terrorists under U.S. law.
The pressure on Binance and Tether continues to mount as U.S. lawmakers call on the Justice Department to investigate their alleged involvement in facilitating illicit financing. The outcomes of the investigation and any subsequent actions taken could shape the future of policy and enforcement measures related to illicit cryptocurrency financing. As the industry faces increased scrutiny, the importance of distinguishing compliance-seeking firms from those engaging in unlawful activities becomes crucial to preserve trust and encourage lawful innovation.