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Sunday, March 7th, 2021

Lawmakers seek cryptocurrency seizure insight

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Two Democratic legislators forwarded correspondence Tuesday to Attorney General William Barr and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin seeking insight regarding the recent seizure of cryptocurrency raised by designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

U.S. Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), chair of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy, spearheaded the inquiry.

“The Department uncovered extensive and sophisticated solicitations of donations via cryptocurrency from some of the world’s most heinous terrorist groups, including ISIS, al Qaeda, and the al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, on social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, including taking advantage of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to sell fraudulent personal protective equipment (PPE) to unsuspecting buyers online,” Gottheimer and Cleaver wrote. “It is vital that Members of the Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy receive a briefing, at the appropriate classification level, on this action, the largest ever seizure of online terrorist financing, from the Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury on this investigation.”

The Committee has also requested the Treasury provide an assessment of its actions to confront designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations in the financial space.

“This will further inform the Subcommittee on what legislative actions we should be undertaking to provide regulators and law enforcement the proper resources and tools to continue to address the illicit use of cryptocurrency and disrupt terrorist organizations’ financial networks,” the legislators concluded.