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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

OFAC publishes additional guidance related to sanctioned virtual currency “mixer”

Financial Crimes Of Interest to Non-US Persons Department of Treasury OFAC OFAC Sanctions OFAC Designations Digital Assets Cryptocurrency Anti-Money Laundering

Financial Crimes

On September 13, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control published new cyber-related frequently asked questions concerning transactions involving a virtual currency mixer sanctioned last month for allegedly laundering more than $7 billion in virtual currency since 2019. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the company “repeatedly failed to impose effective controls designed to stop it from laundering funds for malicious cyber actors on a regular basis,” and provided financial, material, or technological support for, or in support of, cyber-enabled activity contributing to a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the U.S. The FAQs outline requirements for completing virtual currency transactions without violating U.S. sanctions regulations, discuss whether OFAC reporting obligations apply to transactions involving unsolicited and nominal amounts of virtual currency, and reiterate that transactions involving identified virtual currency wallet addresses are prohibited absent a specific OFAC license. The FAQs noted that as part of the SDN List entry, OFAC included as identifiers certain virtual currency wallet addresses associated with the company as well as the company’s URL address. OFAC provided additional clarification on interactions with open-source code that does not involve a prohibited transaction with the sanctioned company.