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US: Deputy AG calls on regulators to tackle crypto

 |  November 20, 2018

To look into crimes involving digital currencies, US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is looking for international support. He took on the topic at Interpol’s annual meeting on Sunday, November 19, CoinDesk reported.

“We must not allow cybercriminals to hide behind cryptocurrencies,” Rosenstein said at the event, according to CoinDesk. He also said that, despite positive use cases for digital currency, there is an underside. He continued, “In addition, fraudsters use the lure of coin offerings and the promise of new currencies to bilk unsuspecting investors, promote scams and engage in market manipulation.”

Rosenstein reportedly asked those at the event to create standards that work to prevent digital currencies from being “abused by criminals, terrorist financiers or sanctions evaders.” As it stands, the US laws for anti-money laundering (AML) regulate digital currencies, per CoinDesk. He also noted that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) “urges all nations to make clear that global anti-money laundering standards apply to virtual currency products and service providers.”

In a recent study of 2,500 suspected crypto crimes that made use of Ethereum and bitcoin, The Wall Street Journal reported that almost US$90 million worth of funds that were allegedly proceeds from criminal activities have gone through crypto intermediaries in a two-year period. According to the analysis, which is said to have included only “a narrow slice of suspected criminal behavior,” US$88.6 million worth of funds were laundered via 46 exchanges. The newspaper claimed that law enforcement possibly seized under US$2 million of the funds.

That study comes a few months after the Trump administration created a new task force to hone in on protecting consumers from one of the crypto coin fraud threats. Bloomberg noted in July that a focus of the panel would be on scams involving bitcoin and other virtual tokens, including crimes like money laundering and investment schemes targeting the elderly.

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