In a significant development, stablecoin issuer Tether has frozen over $225 million USDT in connection with an international human trafficking and money laundering operation in Southeast Asia.
According to the announcement, Tether, in collaboration with global crypto exchange OKX and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), has taken action to freeze funds held in external self-custodial wallets.
This collaboration, facilitated by the blockchain analytics company Chainalysis, marks the largest freeze of USDT tokens in history.
Tether And OKX Join Forces To Combat Illicit Activities
The investigation, which spanned several months, involved “meticulous analysis” of blockchain transactions by Tether and OKX. By tracking the flow of funds through the blockchain, the companies were able to identify the illicit activities and notify US law enforcement agencies, including the DOJ.
As a result, the United States Secret Service initiated a freeze request, and Tether voluntarily froze the identified wallets associated with the international human trafficking syndicate operating a global “pig butchering” romance scam in Southeast Asia.
It is important to note that the frozen wallets are located on the secondary market and are not linked to Tether’s customers. Tether has pledged to work closely with law enforcement agencies and wallet owners to unfreeze lawful wallets caught in the operation to ensure compliance with the law.
Ardoino Highlights Focus On Security In The Crypto Space
In a recent statement, Paolo Ardoino, CEO of Tether, highlighted the company’s dedication to safety within the cryptocurrency space. Ardoino emphasized that Tether strives to establish a new standard for security by actively engaging with global law enforcement agencies and maintaining a commitment to transparency.
Ardoino believes that leveraging technology and strategic partnerships, such as the collaboration with OKX, is crucial in proactively addressing illicit activities while upholding the highest standards of integrity. Ardoino stated:
Our recent collaboration with the Department of Justice underscores our dedication to fostering a secure environment. We believe in leveraging technology and relationships, such as our collaboration with OKX, to proactively address illicit activities and uphold the highest standards of integrity in the industry.
Echoing similar sentiments, Jason Lau, Chief Innovation Officer of OKX, emphasized the significance of collaboration and industry stakeholders in building trust and serving “the public good.”
Lau expressed that collaborating with law enforcement agencies is a fundamental aspect of OKX’s approach to establishing trust and solidifying its position as a leader in the crypto industry:
Collaborating with industry stakeholders, including law enforcement agencies, is a key tenet of our approach to building trust and serving the public good as a leader in the crypto industry. At OKX, we will continue to contribute to these initiatives on a proactive basis
Featured image from Shutterstock, chart from TradingView.com