Washington-based cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex has been levied a $29.3 million fine by the U.S. Department of Treasury in relation to violating U.S. sanctions and the Bank Secrecy Act, reports CNBC.
Aside from failing to prevent service utilization among individuals in Iran, Ukraine's Crimea region, Cuba, Syria, and Sudan, resulting in 116,421 virtual currency-related transactions amounting to over $263 million in violation of U.S. sanctions between March 2014 and December 2017, Bittrex also had gaps in its anti-money laundering program between February 2014 and December 2018, according to the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network division. FinCEN also noted Bittrex's failure to report suspicious transactions from February 2014 to May 2017, which amounted to more than $1 million in virtual assets. Such failures have "unnecessarily exposed the U.S. financial system to threat actors," noted FinCen Acting Director Himamauli Das. "Bittrexs failures created exposure to high-risk counterparties including sanctioned jurisdictions, darknet markets, and ransomware attackers. FinCEN has made clear that virtual asset service providers must implement robust risk-based compliance programs and meet their BSA reporting requirements, and will not hesitate to act when it identifies willful violations of the BSA," Das added.
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