Tether has intercepted 225 million USDT connected to an international human trafficking syndicate in Southeast Asia. The stablecoin issuer through a blog post released today revealed that it partnered with OKX and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to freeze the stained USDT.
As established in the blog post, Tether voluntarily expropriated the funds in some external self-custodial wallets after an investigation revealed that the group masterminded a global “pig butchering” romance scam. More so, the firm revealed that it employed tools from popular blockchain analysis firm, Chainalysis to track the wallets.
As indicated, the probe lasted many months and local law enforcement agencies in the U.S, the DOJ, and OKX all assisted in the investigation. At the end of the investigation, Tether discovered the location of stained funds after it analyzed the movement of the assets on the blockchain. Thereafter, the United States Secret Service intervened and requested that the crypto firm should freeze the illicit funds.
However, Tether disclosed that the affected wallets are not connected to its customers. According to the firm, they belong to the secondary market instead. The stablecoin issuer during the investigation blacklisted some innocent wallets. Nonetheless, the company stated that it will work with law enforcement agencies and owners of the lawful wallets to unfreeze them.
The recent development comes shortly after Tether seized $835 million worth of cryptocurrencies from addresses relating to Ukraine and Israel. In October, Binbits reported that the firm partnered with 31 international agencies to confiscate the fund. Accordingly, the stablecoin issuer cited that addresses were involved in terrorism financing.
Reactions to the Efforts of Tether, OKX, and the DOJ
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tether, Paolo Ardoino indicated that the collaboration with the Department of Justice highlights the firm’s commitment to fostering a safe crypto landscape. Furthermore, the CEO added that it intends to set a new standard for safety in the industry by partnering with global enforcement agencies. In addition, Ardoino said Tether will continue to embrace transparency and leverage technology and relationships to “proactively address illicit activities.”
Similarly, the Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) of OKX Jason Lau also reacted to the development. The CIO explained that partnering with industry stakeholders and law enforcement agencies is a key tenet of the crypto exchange. Lau hinted that the exchange would collaborate with more firms to build trust and serve the public good.
Meanwhile, the latest development represents the biggest USDT Tether has ever seized. In recent times, the stablecoin issuer has intensified efforts toward combating the use of cryptocurrency for illicit activities. The cryptocurrency company and the likes of Binance and OKX have continued to push for the creation of a safe crypto landscape.