The grey areas in the regulatory frameworks around cryptos often open doors to illicit activities. This concern has triggered Senator Cynthia “Crypto Queen” Lummis to act, urging the Justice Department to delve deeper into the operations of Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume.
This initiative is a call for establishing a legal framework that ensures cryptos do not become a haven for nefarious activities.
Justice Department Must File Charges Against Binance
In a recent letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Senator Lummis and her colleagues shed light on alarming information.
Recent reports suggest that unregulated crypto asset intermediaries, particularly Binance, have allegedly facilitated significant illicit finance activity. More importantly, supporting terrorism financing for Hamas during the recent attacks on Israel.
Binance, an unregulated crypto asset exchange based in Seychelles and Cayman Islands, has found itself in the crosshairs due to its purported connections to illicit activities. This is not the first time Binance has faced such accusations. Historically, reports have highlighted links between Binance and illicit activities, capturing the attention of law enforcement and regulatory bodies.
On October 16, 2023, Israeli law enforcement took action by closing over 100 Binance accounts associated with Hamas. Additionally, a report in May 2023 revealed that over 190 Binance accounts linked to Islamic terrorism were seized by Israeli law enforcement between 2021 and 2023.
Read more: 7 Best Binance Alternatives in 2023
“The fact that Hamas and other terrorist groups have been permitted by Binance to open accounts and conduct business, even after public reporting about the issue, clearly shows that Binance could be providing material support to entities engaged in terrorism under Federal law, or being willfully blind to the fact that it may be doing so,” Lummis wrote.
The Senator’s letter highlights the importance of responsible innovation in United States financial markets, driven by crypto assets and distributed ledger technology. However, when a handful of bad actors use these platforms for nefarious purposes, it tarnishes the reputation of the entire crypto industry.
Nick Neuman, CEO of Casa, expressed concerns regarding Binance without making specific allegations. He conveyed a desire to remain optimistic about the safety of funds on the platform, yet acknowledged hearing unusual reports.
Neuman advised against waiting to ascertain the veracity of such rumors. He suggested it is simpler to steer clear of potential third-party disruptions.
“If you have funds on Binance, move them to self-custody… Remember: not your keys, not your coins. Self-custody is one thing you can count on to protect against systemic risk,” Neuman said.
Read more: Top 7 Binance.US Alternatives That Support USD Withdrawals
Tether Also “Fails” to Conduct Adecuate Due Diligence
The lack of regulatory oversight on crypto companies poses a grave threat. For this reason, Senator Lummis highlighted that while crypto assets drive innovation, Tether must also be investigated.
She beileives the stablecoin issuer could also be facilitating violations of sanctions laws and the Bank Secrecy Act.
“It is well-known that Tether is knowingly facilitating violations of applicable sanctions laws and the Bank Secrecy Act by failing to conduct adequate customer due diligence and screenings despite being aware that its product is used to facilitate terrorism and other illicit activities,” Lummis added.
The call to action by Senator Lummis reflects a growing concern among lawmakers about the dark side of crypto. Subsequently urging for a balanced approach that fosters innovation while curtailing opportunities for illicit activities.
Still, the message is clear – accountability and action against from the Justice Department against Binance and other such platforms is imperative.
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