FinCEN calls on crypto exchanges to help blast Iran’s “malign conduct”

October 12, 2018
Chris Wheal

The US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is urging cryptocurrency exchanges to help detect potentially illicit transactions related to the Iranian regime.

Iran and US

FinCEN claim the Iranian regime has long used shell companies to exploit financial systemsThe regulator has issued an advisory for financial institutions and said that “virtual currency is an emerging payment system that may provide potential avenues for individuals and entities to evade sanctions.”

It said that the Iranian regime has long used front and shell companies to exploit 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 US sanctions.

According to FinCEN, Iran’s use of virtual currency since 2013 includes at least $3.8m worth of bitcoin-denominated transactions per year.

“While the use of virtual currency in Iran is comparatively small, virtual currency is an emerging payment system that may provide potential avenues for individuals and entities to evade sanctions,” the advisory said.

As such, the regulator urges that “institutions should consider reviewing blockchain ledgers for activity that may originate or terminate in Iran.” These activities, it added, have been highly dynamic and could thrive in Iran with “little notice or footprint.”

As part of its recommendations, the agency advocates the use of blockchain intelligence tools and other means to monitor IP login activity from Iran-based entities through acquiring “technical details such as IP addresses with time stamps, device identifiers, and indicators of compromise that can provide helpful information to authorities.”

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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