Tether and OKX Team Up with DOJ in Historic 225 Million USDT Freeze

Tether, a leading figure in the cryptocurrency realm, joined forces with OKX, a prominent global crypto exchange, in a collaboration with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). This strategic alliance led to the proactive freezing of approximately 225 million USDT tokens held in external self-custodied wallets linked to an international human trafficking syndicate operating a pervasive “pig butchering” romance scam across Southeast Asia.

The joint effort, leveraging the expertise of blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis, marks the largest-ever freeze of USDT tokens, signifying a resolute step in combating illicit activities within the crypto space. During an extensive months-long investigation spearheaded by Tether and OKX, the tracking of funds through blockchain networks facilitated the identification and subsequent alerting of U.S. law enforcement agencies, notably the DOJ, to the precise location of the nefarious funds.

This proactive stance culminated in a freeze request from the United States Secret Service and a voluntary freeze executed by Tether, targeting wallets operating on the secondary market—distinct from those associated with Tether’s customers. Notably, Tether affirms its commitment to promptly collaborating with law enforcement and affected wallet owners to swiftly unfreeze lawful wallets ensnared in this operation.

Paolo Ardoino, CEO of Tether, emphasized the pivotal role of collaboration between crypto entities and global law enforcement, underscoring their dedication to fostering a secure environment within the industry. Ardoino reiterated Tether’s dedication to leveraging technology and alliances, exemplified by their partnership with OKX, in proactively combating illicit activities while upholding industry integrity.

Similarly, OKX’s Chief Innovation Officer, Jason Lau, echoed the sentiment of industry cooperation, highlighting their commitment to contributing proactively to initiatives aimed at establishing trust and serving the public good.

Tether’s stringent adherence to Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) protocols, aligning with financial institution standards and the Bank Secrecy Act, stands as a testament to their commitment to industry integrity. Their compliance measures, including rigorous due diligence screenings and collaboration with global law enforcement, reinforce efforts to prevent unlawful actions and transactions within the secondary market.

This monumental collaboration between Tether, OKX, and the DOJ heralds a significant milestone in the fight against crypto-related criminal activities. The transparency afforded by blockchain technology proves instrumental in deterring illicit actions, setting a robust precedent for the industry’s commitment to eradicating unlawful practices.

Tether reiterates its dedication to expeditiously resolving concerns regarding lawful wallets captured in these freezes, underscoring their unwavering commitment to maintaining industry integrity and working in tandem with law enforcement to ensure a secure crypto ecosystem.

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