Wednesday, October 5, 2022

US Department of Justice Says Alleged Iranian Murder Plot of Bolton Involved Promises of Crypto Returns

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) may have given another justification to the concerns of global regulators over rising cases of using cryptocurrencies to facilitate crime. And there may be more to the illicit uses of crypto than just money laundering and other known financial crimes. According to a Wednesday statement from the DoJ, an Iranian plot to assassinate former U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton reportedly involved crypto payments as well.

Department of Justice shares details of plot

As revealed by court documents, the mastermind of the assassination plot, Shahram Poursafi had made plans to make crypto payments of at least $1.3 million upon the job’s execution. The alleged member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard was said to have promised $300,000 in crypto payments to whoever took the offer to assassinate Bolton. Furthermore, Poursafi also offered an extra $1 million for another undisclosed job.

Meanwhile, following a series of back and forths between Poursafi and the potential assassin, some tiny little payments (worth nearly $100) were made earlier this year. The move was to create a certain level of trust in the would-be assassin.

Regulatory fears rekindled

The recent DoJ reports have undoubtedly brought back genuine questions about the extent of damage that crypto poses. Before now, regulators have been coming up with various rules to mitigate against money laundering, tax evasion, and other criminal uses of digital currencies. However, the alleged plot to assassinate Bolton appears to have helped regulators throw caution to the wind, as they get set to launch a full-scale clampdown on the illicit uses of crypto.

Poursafi on the other hand is currently on the run from authorities. He faces a potential jail term of up to 25 years and would have to pay fines of about $500,000. However, all that will happen, only if he eventually gets convicted.

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