(Reuters) – The United States cryptocurrency law enforcement czar said the country is stepping up its scrutiny of cryptocurrency exchanges to target illicit behavior on the platforms, the Financial Times reported on Monday.
The DOJ is targeting cryptocurrency firms that themselves engage in crimes or allow crimes such as money laundering to happen, Eun Young Choi, director of the agency’s National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET), told the Financial Times.
“…they allow all other criminal actors to easily profit from their crimes and recoup the money in ways that are clearly problematic for us,” she said.
“And so we hope that by focusing on those types of platforms, we’ll have a multiplier effect.”
The Department of Justice in March charged Vietnamese national Minh Quoc Nguyen with money laundering and identity theft related to the operations of crypto platform ChipMixer, alleging that Nguyen publicly violated financial regulations.
With the new crackdown on crypto companies, the DOJ aims to intensify that scrutiny, sending a “deterrent message” to companies that managed to sidestep anti-money laundering or customer identification rules, and that weren’t investing in robust compliance and risk mitigation measures, Choi said.
The NCET director, without naming any specific entity, said the company’s size was “not something the department would accept” while evaluating potential fees.
She added that the DOJ will also focus on crimes related to decentralized finance, particularly “chain bridges,” where users can exchange various types of digital tokens, or startups with tokens that are vulnerable to such attacks.