OFAC Lists Digital Currency Addresses for First Time, Releases New Guidance

December 5, 2018

On November 28, 2018, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control identified for the first time digital currency addresses associated with sanctioned persons.

The newly sanctioned individuals, Iran-based Ali Khorashadizadeh and Mohammad Ghorbaniyan, were accused of converting digital currency payments into Iranian rial as part of a widespread ransomware scheme.  Since 2015, the ransomware scheme (known as “SamSam”) has infected the data networks of corporations, hospitals, universities, and government agencies.  According to OFAC’s announcement, the identified bitcoin addresses were used with over 40 digital currency exchangers to process more than 7,000 illicit transactions in bitcoins worth millions of U.S. dollars.

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