It has been reported that Bittrex violated a number of sanctions and that it failed to properly guard against money laundering according to the Treasury Department.
Bittrex, a digital asset exchange, was hit by the U.S. government with $53 million in fines. This is the largest fine imposed on a crypto-related business by the Treasury Department.
The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), announced Tuesday that two fines of more than $24 million and $29 million would be imposed on the U.S. Exchange for “apparent violations of” multiple U.S. sanction programs.
Bittrex is located in Bellevue (Washington), and “unnecessarily exposed U.S. financial systems to threat actors,” according to authorities.
The statement stated that the exchange allowed crypto transactions worth more than \$263 million to be made between March 2014 and December 2017. These transactions were made in the Crimea region in Ukraine, Cuba and Iran.
It did not have an effective anti-money laundering plan and was therefore exposed to illicit financing.
Andrea Gacki, Director of OFAC, stated Tuesday that virtual currency companies can be used as a vehicle by illegal actors who threaten U.S. national security if they fail to comply with sanctions, such as screening customers in sanctioned countries.
Himamauli Das, FinCEN’s Acting Director, stated that “Bittrex’s AML [anti money laundering] program and SAR [suspicious Activity Reports] reporting failures” exposed America’s financial system to threat actors over many years.