KuCoin Crypto Exchange and Founders Charged by DOJ for $9B Laundering, Anti-Money Laundering Violations

Joel Frank
Last updated: | 1 min read
KuCoin Crypto Exchange and Founders Charged by DOJ for $9B Laundering, Anti-Money Laundering Violations
Source: KuCoin

The crypto exchange KuCoin and two of its founders were just charged by US authorities for operating as an illegal exchange in the USA and failing to implement anti-money laundering protocols.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) charged the exchange and founders Chun Gan and Ke Tang with violating the Bank Secrecy Act and operating as an unlicensed money transmitter business.

DoJ alleges that KuCoin didn’t implement any know-your-customer (KYC) or anti-money laundering controls until 2023. Even then, these controls didn’t apply to existing customers.

The lack of controls allowed more than $9 billion in suspicious transactions to take place.

The Commodity Futures and Trade Commission (CFTC) also charged KuCoin with multiple violations of the Commodity Exchange Act.

The CFTC is seeking to impose fines and trading bans, while the DoJ is seeking forfeiture and to pursue criminal penalties.

US Attorney Damien Williams said KuCoin tried to hide that it was being used by “substantial numbers of U.S. users”.

“In failing to implement even basic anti-money laundering policies, the defendants allowed KuCoin to operate in the shadows of the financial markets and be used as a haven for illicit money laundering, with KuCoin receiving over $5 billion and sending over $4 billion of suspicious and criminal funds,” Williams noted.

CFTC Hits Back At SEC’s Claim That Ether (ETH) Is a Commodity

Tuesday’s dual action against KuCoin by the DoJ and CFTC comes a few months after US regulators settled similar charges against Binance.

Nestled into its lawsuit against KuCoin, the CFTC is once again staking its claim on regulatory authority over Ether.

“During the Relevant Period, KuCoin solicited and accepted orders involving digital assets that are commodities, including bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC)”, the CFTC said.

That news only had a short-lived impact on the Ether price.

ETH dipped to just above $3,000 last week. But it has since recovered to above $3,500.

That’s partly helped by a broad crypto market rally that has seen Bitcoin retake $70,000. But BlackRock’s first foray into asset tokenization also helped ETH recover.

The world’s largest asset manager just launched its first tokenized money market fund BUIDL on Ethereum.