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Breaking US Charges KuCoin and Founders for ‘Multibillion-Dollar Criminal Conspiracy’

2 mins
Updated by Bary Rahma
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In Brief

  • US charges KuCoin and founders for a multibillion-dollar criminal conspiracy involving unlicensed operation and law violations.
  • The indictment alleges KuCoin failed to implement necessary anti-money laundering and customer identification protocols.
  • If convicted, the founders face significant prison time, underscoring the serious legal repercussions of non-compliance.
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The US charged crypto exchange KuCoin and its founders, Chun Gan and Ke Tang, with orchestrating a multibillion-dollar criminal conspiracy.

This indictment accuses the parties of operating without a license and flouting anti-money laundering laws to cement KuCoin’s status.

KuCoin’s Alleged Multibillion-Dollar Criminal Plot

According to the official statement, KuCoin and its founders failed to establish a robust anti-money laundering program. The crypto exchange also neglected to verify customer identities and did not file any reports of suspicious activities.

This lapse in protocol has allegedly positioned KuCoin as a conduit for illicit financial flows. These include money from darknet markets and various fraud schemes, tallying over $9 billion in suspicious transactions.

Moreover, the indictment details how KuCoin exploited its significant US customer base to scale into a global trading powerhouse.

“Today, we exposed one of the largest global cryptocurrency exchanges for what our investigation has found it to truly be: an alleged multibillion-dollar criminal conspiracy.  KuCoin grew to service over 30 million customers, despite its alleged failure to follow laws necessary to ensuring the security and stability of our world’s digital banking infrastructure,” HSI Acting Special Agent in Charge Darren McCormack said.

The disregard for US laws aimed at combating financial crimes and corruption underpins the charges against the KuCoin and its executives, who remain at large.

Read more: 15 Best KuCoin Alternatives for US Crypto Traders

KuCoin's Trading Volume
KuCoin’s Trading Volume. Source: CoinGecko

Founded in September 2017, KuCoin quickly ascended the ranks to become a top crypto exchange, boasting billions in daily trading volume.

Despite its success, the indictment alleges the firm and its founders consciously evaded US regulations. Specifically, those requiring registration with financial oversight bodies like the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the Commodity and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

“As alleged, in failing to implement even basic anti-money laundering policies, the defendants allowed KuCoin to operate in the shadows of the financial markets and be used as a haven for illicit money laundering, with KuCoin receiving over $5 billion and sending over $4 billion of suspicious and criminal funds,” US Attorney Damian Williams said.

The charges against the exchange and its founders are significant, marking a decisive step by US authorities to clamp down on illicit activities within the cryptocurrency market. Chun Gan and Ke Tang face substantial prison sentences if convicted, reflecting the serious nature of their alleged offenses.

Read more: 14 Best No KYC Crypto Exchanges in 2024

This case serves as a stark reminder to other crypto exchanges and financial institutions of the imperative to comply with US laws. It also emphasizes the country’s commitment to ensuring the integrity of its financial markets against abuse by unregulated entities.

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Bary Rahma
Bary Rahman, a talented journalist, graduated from New York University with a degree in Journalism. Skilled in SEO, she has worked with CNN, showcasing her investigative skills and storytelling abilities. In addition to her journalistic accomplishments, Bary has contributed her expertise as a content writer for Binance, crafting insightful articles on the dynamic crypto industry. Her unique fusion of journalism and SEO makes her a versatile and highly respected figure in the industry.