The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is investigating cryptocurrency exchange Kraken for allegedly violating economic sanctions against Iran, according to the New York Times.
Five people “affiliated with the company or with knowledge of the inquiry” told the New York Times that Kraken is suspected of allowing customers in Iran and other sanctioned countries to use its exchange despite the company being prohibited from doing so. The sources wished to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation, according to the report.
The United States has upheld economic sanctions against Iran since 1979, meaning no businesses based in the U.S. can buy or sell goods to anyone in the country.
Kraken’s Chief Legal Officer Marco Santori told Decrypt via email that “Kraken does not comment on specific discussions with regulators.”
“Kraken has robust compliance measures in place and continues to grow its compliance team to match its business growth. Kraken closely monitors compliance with sanctions laws and, as a general matter, reports to regulators even potential issues,” Santori said.
While Kraken may be under scrutiny for allegedly violating U.S. sanctions, OpenSea frustrated some users earlier this year when it made a point of enforcing U.S. sanctions against Iran. Back in March, the New York-based NFT marketplace banned a number of Iranian traders who either lived in or claimed they had previously lived in the country.
Back in September, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) fined Kraken $1.25 million for listing “illegal off-exchange digital asset trading and failing to register as required.”
Meanwhile, the company has been reckoning with an internal culture clash. Last month, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell doubled down on efforts to ensure his exchange remained a "freedom company” and said “triggered” employees should leave.