Bittrex exchange $24million was seized by the US Treasury for violating US sanctions against individuals in various countries. Bittrex didn’t stop sanctioned individuals in Iran, Syria and Sudan from using its exchange, according to the US Treasury.
Bittrex’s US Treasury fine is the largest ever, particularly for violating sanctions.
The origin of it all
1,730 individuals who were listed as sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, (OFAC), were discovered to have used Bittrex between December 2017 and March 2014. According to reports, these individuals were involved in approximately 116 421 transactions that involved digital assets totaling $263.4 million.
Bittrex was operating without a sanction compliance program up until December 2015. After which customer identification verification was enacted and followed by the retention of a third party vendor for the sanctions screening process.
Bittrex was unable to implement the measures necessary to screen sanctioned people, which led to an OFAC subpoena. Bittrex took multiple measures to curb the violations following the subpoena.
This was noted by the Treasury Department, who said:
“Bittrex subsequently implemented a number of other remedial measures, including implementing new sanctions screening and blockchain tracing software, conducting additional sanctions compliance training, and hiring additional compliance staff. Once implemented, these remedial measures substantially curtailed the number of Apparent Violations.”
The $24 million fine
Bittrex paid $24.2 million to settle the fines for the violations.
However, this is not the first time the US Treasury has penalized crypto exchanges for violating sanctions. BitPay was fined $57,000, while BitGo was fined $98,000 due to sanctions violations.