Kraken Settles With U.S OFAC Over Iran Sanctions Compliance

Kraken Settles With U.S OFAC Over Iran Sanctions Compliance
  • The OFAC claims Kraken did not take reasonable precautions.
  • Kraken will allocate an extra $100,000 to sanctions compliance mechanisms.

Kraken, a cryptocurrency exchange based in the United States, has just resolved with the United States Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for alleged breaches of sanctions against Iran. The settlement is for $362,158.70.

The agency stated:

“Due to Kraken’s failure to timely implement appropriate geolocation tools, including an automated internet protocol (IP) address blocking system, Kraken exported services to users who appeared to be in Iran when they engaged in virtual currency transactions on Kraken’s platform.”

Sanctions Compliance 

The government started looking into Kraken in July because of concerns that it was breaking economic restrictions against Iran. The cryptocurrency exchange reportedly enabled users from Iran and other sanctioned nations to use its platform, according to unnamed sources the New York Times quoted.

The government claims that between October 14, 2015, and June 29, 2019. Kraken completed 826 transactions for users who were located in Iran, with a total value of about $1,680,577.10 USD. The OFAC claims Kraken did not take reasonable precautions or care in meeting its duties. Related to sanctions compliance while being aware that the exchange served consumers from all over the globe.

Despite “reason to know” based on accessible IP address information that transactions seem to have been made from Iran, Kraken imposed its geolocation restrictions solely at the time of onboarding and not with regard to future transactional activity, the agency claimed.

For failing to register as a futures commission merchant and for “illegally offering margined retail commodity transactions in digital assets,” including Bitcoin, Kraken was fined $1.25 million by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission last year. Kraken will allocate an extra $100,000 on sanctions compliance mechanisms as part of the settlement.

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