U.S. DOJ to strengthen crypto crime team
The U.S. Department of Justice will strengthen a team that has been involved in cases against Bitzlato and Binance
The unit previously indicted cryptocurrency exchanger Bitzlato and investigated Binance
The U.S. Department of Justice will strengthen the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET), created nearly two years ago to investigate crimes related to the crypto market, by more than doubling the number of prosecutors, The Wall Street Journal reported.
U.S. Justice Department official Nicole Argentieri said NCET will be a permanent unit within the agency's criminal division that handles some computer-related investigations.
"The time has come for NCET to go to the next level," Argentieri said at an event in Washington organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The DOJ established NCET in 2021 because of the strong growth of the crypto industry, and with it, concerns that criminals could use cryptocurrencies to move and launder illicit funds.
The National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Unit team has been involved in many DOJ cases involving the crypto market. In particular, the unit helped bring charges against the co-founder of exchange service Bitzlato, as well as investigate a case against Binance, the publication writes.
On January 18, Bitzlato co-founder Anatoly Legkodymov was arrested in Miami on money laundering charges. According to the US Department of Justice, the Hong Kong-registered platform operated in the US without the necessary license and processed illegal transactions worth more than $700 million.
In June, Binance hired a former US DOJ prosecutor to litigate with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It was noted that former Deputy Assistant Attorney General M. Kendall Day will serve as counsel for the defendant in the litigation.
The US Department of Justice was also one of the agencies that brought charges against ex-Celsius cryptocurrency company CEO Alex Mashinsky.
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