US FinCen attacks Iranian attempts to avoid US sanctions via cryptos

Posted 12 October, 2018

The US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued a notice asking US exchanges not to support Iran and assisting Tehran in using cryptos to avoid the effective sanctions against the country.

FinCen stated in the notice:

"The Iranian regime has long used front and shell companies to financial systems around the world to generate revenues and transfer funds in support of malign conduct, which includes support to terrorist groups, ballistic missile development, human rights abuses, support to the Syrian regime, and other destabilizing actions targeted by U.S. sanctions."

According to the released document, the organization points out that Iran uses digital coins for illegal and harmful actions to the financial system, citing that CBI, in particular senior officials, used their position and power to facilitate illegal activities and make transactions for terrorism.

"The Iranian Regime’s Use of CBI Officials and Exchange Houses to Facilitate Malign Activity," stated in the document.

Speaking about the cryptos, annual bitcoin turnover by Iran amounts at least to $3.8 million. The volume of the used coins is obviously small in Iran, though "virtual currency is an emerging payment system that may provide potential avenues for individuals and entities to evade sanctions."

In the current situation, FinCen calls financial organizations to check blockchains for possible Iranian presence.

"Institutions should also be aware that the international virtual currency industry is highly dynamic; new virtual currency businesses may incorporate or operate in Iran with little notice or footprint," according to the notice.

The Central Bank of Iran is said to take measures to ban local banking sector from cryptos trading, though individuals, as well as private companies still, can get access to digital assets via "...U.S.- or other third country-based virtual currency exchanges" and P2P operations.

Notably, earlier Iran expressed intentions to launch its own national coin following Venezuela with El Petro.

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