Cynthia Lummis, a crypto proponent representing Wyoming in the United States Senate, has called on the U.S. Justice Department to consider charges against crypto exchange Binance following the terrorist group Hamas’ attack on Israel.
In an Oct. 26 letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, Lummis and Arkansas Representative French Hill urged Justice Department officials to “reach a charging decision on Binance” and “expeditiously conclude” investigations of allegedly illicit activities involving Tether. The two lawmakers’ remarks followed Hamas launching a coordinated attack against Israel on Oct. 7, which they suggested was supported in part by illicit crypto transactions “providing significant terrorism financing.”
“We urge the Department of Justice to carefully evaluate the extent to which Binance and Tether are providing material support and resources to support terrorism through violations of applicable sanctions laws and the Bank Secrecy Act,” said Lummis and Hill. “To that end, we strongly support swift action by the Department of Justice against Binance and Tether to choke off sources of funding to the terrorists currently targeting Israel.”
When it comes to illicit finance, crypto is not the enemy – bad actors are.
I sent a letter asking DOJ to finish its investigation and consider criminal charges against Binance and Tether after reports they served as intermediaries for Hamas and engaged in illicit activities. pic.twitter.com/M3KGNFkpWc
— Senator Cynthia Lummis (@SenLummis) October 26, 2023
The letter by Lummis, a Bitcoiner and supporter of crypto legislation in Congress, and Hill, the chair of the Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion, echoed sentiments expressed by Senator Elizabeth Warren and other lawmakers linking crypto payments to terrorist activities. In contrast to Warren, however, the two Republican lawmakers directed the Justice Department to focus on “bad actors” — in this case, including Binance and Tether.
“[W]e must be careful not to paint all crypto asset intermediaries as suspect when a small handful of bad actors use them for nefarious purposes,” said the letter. “Many crypto asset intermediaries seek to comply with U.S. sanctions and money laundering laws, correctly viewing the regulations as necessary to unlock the promise of crypto assets and distributed ledger technology.”