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KuCoin allegedly evaded U.S. regulations, DOJ files charges

TL;DR

  • The DOJ has charged KuCoin and its founders with violating anti-money laundering laws and operating without a license.
  • KuCoin is accused of failing to implement proper AML procedures, including verifying customer identities and filing suspicious activity reports.
  • In addition to DOJ’s criminal charges, the CFTC has initiated a civil action against KuCoin, intensifying the legal challenges for the exchange.

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin and its two founders, Chun Gan, and Ke Tang, with operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business and breaching the Bank Secrecy Act. 

Announced on Tuesday, the indictment asserts that KuCoin neglected to establish a sufficient anti-money laundering (AML) program, failed to verify customers’ identities accurately, and did not file necessary suspicious activity reports.

Details of the Charges

According to the DOJ, KuCoin misrepresented its operations by claiming it did not serve U.S. customers despite having a considerable user base in the country. This misrepresentation is at the heart of the allegations, with the indictment highlighting the platform’s role in laundering over $9 billion. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, pointed out that financial institutions like KuCoin, which benefit from the U.S. market, are required to comply with U.S. regulations aimed at combating crime and corruption in financing. KuCoin is accused of deliberately evading these regulations.

Moving forward, the indictment elaborated on KuCoin’s operations, suggesting that the exchange leveraged its significant U.S. customer base to become one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency derivatives and spot exchanges. It also mentioned billions of dollars in daily trades and an annual trade volume reaching trillions of dollars. Despite this scale, the exchange is said to have chosen not to adhere to essential legal requirements in the United States.

Parallel Civil Action by CFTC

On Tuesday, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission also initiated a lawsuit against KuCoin, accusing the firm, known for its spot and futures trading offerings, of operating without registering as a futures commission merchant, swap execution facility, or designated contract market. Additionally, the lawsuit claims that KuCoin failed to establish a program equivalent to the CFTC’s Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements.

The CFTC aims for financial penalties, prohibitions on trading and registration, and a court order, whereas the DOJ is pursuing confiscation in addition to criminal sanctions. In a declaration, Darren McCormack, the Special Agent in Charge at Homeland Security Investigations, described KuCoin as “a supposed criminal conspiracy worth billions,” highlighting its status as one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges.

Tuesday’s moves follow closely on the heels of the DOJ, CFTC, and Treasury Department resolving comparable allegations against Binance, which is recognized as the biggest cryptocurrency exchange globally in terms of trading volume.

Following the announcement, KuCoin’s native token, KCS, saw a 5% decrease. Meanwhile, Bitcoin (BTC) experienced a 1% decline in its price, with its value fluctuating throughout the day, currently trading at approximately $70,000, according to Coinmarketcap.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Damilola Lawrence

Damilola is a crypto enthusiast, content writer, and journalist. When he is not writing, he spends most of his time reading and keeping tabs on exciting projects in the blockchain space. He also studies the ramifications of Web3 and blockchain development to have a stake in the future economy.

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