“Online gambling platforms, especially those operating illegally, have emerged as among the most popular vehicles for cryptocurrency-based money launderers, particularly for those using Tether,” the UN report said, per the Financial Times.
The UN also reportedly suggested the world's most-popular stablecoin has been widely used in underground fraud, including romantic scams known as “pig butchering.” This may not comes as a surprise — in November, Tether said that it assisted the U.S. Department of Justice and froze about $225 million in USDT in external, self-custodied wallets linked to an international human trafficking group in Southeast Asia responsible for a pig-butchering scam.
The report additionally noted how law enforcement agencies have disrupted multiple money laundering networks involved in the transfer of illicit Tether funds in recent years. Last August, for example, Singaporean authorities conducted an operation that led to the dismantling of one such network — resulting in the recovery of around $735 million in both cash and cryptocurrency.
In response to the UN report, Tether said in a statement that the report ignores USDT’s role in helping developing economies. “We are disappointed in the UN’s assessment that singles out USDT highlighting its involvement in illicit activity while ignoring its role in helping developing economies in emerging markets, completely neglected by the global financial world simply because servicing such communities would be unprofitable for them,” Tether wrote. “Tether tokens, using public blockchains, make it possible to meticulously track every transaction, making it an impractical choice for illicit activities.”
In December, Tether CEO Paolo Ardoino said in a letter shared with U.S. legislators that it has onboarded the U.S. Secret Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation onto its platform.
Update: Added Tether's response
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