US Treasury Blacklists Bitcoin, Litecoin Addresses of Chinese ‘Drug Kingpins’

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The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) has sanctioned three Chinese nationals and their cryptocurrency addresses, alleging they violated money laundering and drug smuggling laws.

OFAC named Xiaobing Yan, Fujing Zheng and Guanghua Zheng as narcotics traffickers under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, freezing any property they own within the U.S. and listing a number of email aliases, citizen numbers and passport information for the three.

The agency also listed a number of bitcoin addresses, as well as one litecoin address, that the agency claims belong to the Chinese citizens.

Wednesday’s action marks the second time OFAC has sanctioned digital currency addresses specifically, having last done so in November 2018 when a pair of Iranian nationals were added to the Specially Designated Nationals list.

At the time, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker said the agency was “publishing digital currency addresses to identify illicit actors operating in the digital currency space.”

In addition to naming the three individuals, OFAC listed Qinsheng Pharmaceutical Technology Co. Ltd. and the Zheng Drug Trafficking Organization in Wednesday’s update.

Sigal Mandelkar image via CoinDesk archives