The Trump administration has filed a $100 million lawsuit against infamous bitcoin exchange BTC-e and its alleged operator, Russian national Alexander Vinnik.
Vinnik, who remains in custody in Greece as governments worldwide jockey to extradite him, stands accused of laundering billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency stolen from other exchanges, most notably Mt. Gox.
Trump DOJ Sues BTC-e, Alexander Vinnik for $100 Million for Illicit Bitcoin Dealings
The $100 million civil suit, which the Department of Justice filed in the Northern District of California, targets BTC-e for offering services to US residents without abiding by US financial regulations, including declining to register with FinCEN as a Money Services Business, failing to establish anti-money laundering procedures as stipulated under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), and failing to report suspicious activities.
From the complaint:
“At no point in time did BTC-e have any AML policies or procedures, let alone an effective program for detecting and preventing suspicious transactions. To the contrary, BTC-e’s lax policies encouraged persons engaged in criminal activity to use its services, and BTC-e became the virtual currency exchange of choice for criminals looking to launder their illegal proceeds.”
FinCEN had levied $88.6 million in penalties against BTC-e and $12 million in penalties against Vinnik, and the DOJ says that the lawsuit intends to “enforce” those fines.
President Trump, as CBNN reported, recently said that he is “not a fan” of bitcoin. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned that the government would ensure “very, very strong” enforcement of financial regulations governing cryptocurrency usage.