OFAC Sanctions Cryptocurrency Exchange to Combat Ransomware Payments, Releases New Ransomware Guidance

On September 21, 2021, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) of the Treasury Department issued an Updated Advisory on Potential Sanctions Risks for Facilitating Ransomware Payments (“Updated Advisory”), which warns of the sanctions risks of making or facilitating ransomware payments and provides expanded guidance on steps that companies may take to mitigate ransomware risk. Continue reading

BitPay Settlement Signals Growing OFAC Focus on Cryptocurrency Transactions

On February 18, 2021, BitPay, Inc. (“BitPay”), a major cryptocurrency payment processing platform, entered into a $507,000 settlement with the Office of Foreign Asset Control (“OFAC”), to settle allegations that it processed cryptocurrency payments which violated various US sanctions programs.  Significantly, OFAC did not allege that BitPay knowingly violated sanctions laws or took steps to actively conceal violations.  Rather, OFAC alleged that BitPay had inadequate due diligence and internal controls policies in place which failed to identify potential sanctions violations.

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