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Crypto exchange Kraken reportedly under investigation for Iran sanctions breach

U.S.-based crypto exchange Kraken is reportedly under investigation by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Control for allegedly violating economic sanctions against Iran, according to the New York Times.

See related article: US charges two Europeans with helping N.Korea evade sanctions with crypto

Fast facts

  • Kraken allegedly allowed users in Iran and elsewhere to buy and sell digital tokens, according to the report, which cited five people with knowledge of the matter who wished to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation.

  • The U.S. Treasury has been investigating the exchange since 2019 and is expected to impose a fine, the report said.

  • The U.S. imposed sanctions on Iran in 1979 which prohibits the export of goods or services to people or entities within the country.

  • “Kraken does not comment on specific discussions with regulators,” Marco Santori, chief legal officer at Kraken, told Forkast via email, adding: “Kraken closely monitors compliance with sanctions laws and, as a general matter, reports to regulators even potential issues.”

  • Kraken was fined US$1.25 million last year by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for offering illegal off-exchange digital asset trading and failing to properly register with the agency.

  • Cryptocurrency’s capacity for circumventing sanctions came under fierce debate following widespread Western sanctions imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

See related article: Is cryptocurrency a workaround for sanctions against Russia?