US Senator Cynthia Lummis asks the Department of Justice (DOJ) to criminally charge crypto exchange Binance and USDT issuer Tether.
Lummis cites the two companies’ role in aiding illicit fundraising for terror.
Blockchain security and analytics firm Elliptic says a WSJ report “misrepresented” data.
The US Department of Justice should finish its investigation and consider criminal charges against crypto exchange Binance and USDT stablecoin issuer Tether, US Senator Cynthia Lummis says.
Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), notes in a post on X today that she had sent a letter to the DOJ with a view of having the Justice Department charge the two crypto companies for being “intermediaries” in reported illicit financing of Hamas.
When it comes to illicit finance, crypto is not the enemy – bad actors are.
I sent a letter asking DOJ to finish its investigation and consider criminal charges against Binance and Tether after reports they served as intermediaries for Hamas and engaged in illicit activities. pic.twitter.com/M3KGNFkpWc
— Senator Cynthia Lummis (@SenLummis) October 26, 2023
The letter, co-signed by Representative French Hill, Chair Subcommittee, House Financial Services, is part of a wider reaction to a recent Wall Street Journal report. The allegations in the report saw several lawmakers believe Hamas had raised millions of dollars in crypto funding before its attacks on Israel earlier this month.
But as blockchain analytics firm Elliptic noted in a blog post published on October 25, “there is no evidence to suggest that crypto fundraising” had resulted in the more than $130 million raised cited in the Wall Street Journal article.
Elliptic said its data and that from other platforms “has been misinterpreted.”
Tether wants mainstream media fact-checked
In an announcement published this afternoon, Tether said its stance against use of crypto in terrorism financing remains strong. However, it has urged the government to “fact-check” mainstream media misrepresentations about the topic.
The news release cited the stablecoin issuers cooperation with law enforcement, including Israel’s to freeze funds suspected to be meant for illicit activities.
“Crypto used by malicious actors accounts for a small drop in the huge ocean of illicit activity passing through the (willingly or poorly equipped) traditional financial industry. WSJ deceitful article tricked good actors with false information,” said Tether CEO Paolo Ardoino.
Nic Carter, partner at Castle Island Ventures, says crypto needs to stand up for itself in the wake of the latest regulatory developments. He shared on X:
Make no mistake. Journalists and senators lying about crypto financing terrorism and pinning the blame on us is an existential threat. If they win that information war there is no limit to government aggression. This is a battle we need to win. And the truth is on OUR side.
— nic 🌠 carter (@nic__carter) October 25, 2023
Brian Armstrong, co-founder and CEO of Coinbase, shares similar sentiments and believes one of the steps to getting it right here is for the WSJ to issue a retraction or correction.