CoinList Faces $1.2 Million Fine for Sanction Violations: A Wake-Up Call for Crypto Compliance

December 18, 2023 2 min
Daniel Bennett Twitter
Daniel Bennett
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CoinList, a prominent player in the cryptocurrency industry, has been fined $1.2 million by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for violating U.S. sanctions. The regulatory body accused CoinList of conducting transactions with residents of Crimea*, a region under U.S. sanctions.

The investigation revealed that between April 2020 and May 2022, CoinList processed 989 transactions for individuals located in Crimea. Notably, the platform opened 89 accounts for clients who listed Russia as their country of residence. OFAC's report highlighted that CoinList failed to exercise due diligence and care in adhering to sanction compliance obligations. It was found that the platform either knew or should have known that these transactions were being conducted with Crimean residents, thereby breaching U.S. sanctions and economically benefiting the region.

However, OFAC acknowledged that CoinList had cooperated with U.S. authorities throughout this period and that the transactions in clear violation of sanctions constituted a "small percentage" of the exchange's total volume. As a result, CoinList is required to pay a fine of $1.2 million.

This case follows a similar incident in May, where the cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex admitted to providing services to clients from sanctioned jurisdictions and agreed to pay a fine of $7.59 million. In another related development, OFAC imposed sanctions on the cryptocurrency mixer Sinbad in November. According to authorities, Sinbad was used by the North Korean group Lazarus for laundering stolen funds.

*Crimea – a region currently occupied by the Russian Federation and recognized as part of Ukraine.

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