FinCEN: Crime Involving Crypto Is AML Priority

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has rolled out its first priorities to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism, according to a press release.

The announcement comes after FinCEN consulted with other Department of the Treasury officers, federal and state regulators, law enforcement and national security agencies on anti-money laundering (AML) and combatting the financing of terrorism (CFT), the release stated.

The priorities reflect several of the more prominent threats to the U.S. at the moment, which the release listed as “corruption, cybercrime, domestic and international terrorist financing, fraud, transnational criminal organizations, drug trafficking organizations, human trafficking and human smuggling, and proliferation financing.”

“Treasury is particularly concerned about cyber-enabled financial crime, ransomware attacks and the misuse of virtual assets that exploits and undermines their innovative potential, including through laundering of illicit proceeds,” the priorities document stated.

FinCEN Acting Director Michael Mosier said in the release: “Today’s publication of government-wide AML/CFT Priorities is a significant milestone in FinCEN’s efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the nation’s AML/CFT regime and to foster greater public-private partnerships. The priorities reflect the U.S. Government’s view of the threat landscape — highlighting longstanding threats like corruption, fraud and international terrorism, as well as rapidly evolving and acute threats, such as domestic terrorism, ransomware and other cybercrime.”

In October, FinCEN logged over $5 billion in bitcoin transactions linked to ransomware payments. There were 635 reports and 458 ransomware transactions reported as of June, which was more than the total incidents reported the previous year.

Read more: FinCEN Logs $5.2B in Bitcoin Ransomware Transactions Paid in First Half of ’21

Many of the payments were made via bitcoin, the release stated. But there was a minor increase of payments in monero, which is a cryptocurrency focused on privacy. Most of the funds were collected in entities via chain hopping, which involves changing one cryptocurrency to another in order to avoid detection from the law.



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