A high-ranking U.S. government official has urged the global financial sector, including the crypto industry, to step up efforts in curbing illicit activities associated with the nascent technology.
During the recent American Bankers Association/American Bar Association Financial Crimes Enforcement Conference held on Monday, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker explained how the agency is investigating the crypto sphere, calling for a more scrupulous global oversight.
To that end, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the financial intelligence agency of the U.S. Treasury Department, has now included cryptocurrency addresses to its Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list, according to a recent Coinwire report. As Mandelker indicated, two Iranian residents that have been previously involved in the liquidation of Bitcoin ransoms have now been added to OFAC’s SDN list as part of the department’s efforts to cut off bad actors from the global financial system.
As Mandelker explained:
“As Iranian and other bad actors attempt to misuse digital currency to facilitate illicit activity, financial institutions, including exchangers and other providers of digital currency services, must guard against the risks of assisting these malicious actors.”
To that end, Mandelker is asking for the cooperation of crypto firms to ensure that “malicious actors” would no longer have access to their services, citing one company that has recently notified its users regarding the SDN list. As part of the initiative, the company has also provided customers with information on its due diligence processes.
In addition, the agency has also called for global cooperation in establishing a clear regulatory framework for preventing money laundering and terrorist financing, noting that:
“While the United States regulates, supervises, and brings enforcement actions relating to virtual currency and other digital asset financial activity, many more countries must follow suit. We have made this a priority in our international outreach, including through the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), for which the United States is currently serving as President.”
Mandelker went on adding that on top of the aforementioned regulatory initiatives, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is also bolstering its efforts to regulate crypto exchanges in the U.S.