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The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), on August 8, 2022, sanctioned virtual currency mixer Tornado Cash. OFAC alleged that it had been “used to launder more than $7 billion worth of virtual currency since its creation in 2019 [, including] over $455 million stolen by the Lazarus Group[,]” a Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) state-sponsored hacking group that OFAC identified for sanctions in 2019, in what the agency characterized as the largest known virtual currency heist to date.[1]

Continue Reading OFAC Takes Action Against Virtual Currency Tornado Cash in Novel Application of Sanctions Authorities

Agency’s Focus on Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Continues

On September 21, 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) released an updated advisory to “highlight the sanctions risks associated with ransomware payments”—almost one year after issuing the first such guidance—and simultaneously imposed sanctions on SUEX, a virtual currency exchange accused

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) administers and enforces U.S. economic sanctions programs in accordance with U.S. national security and foreign policy. OFAC had not previously published guidance addressing essential elements for an effective sanctions compliance program (SCP). It has now done so.

Specifically, on May 2, 2019, OFAC published guidance entitled “A Framework