A recent United Nations report has shed light on the involvement of Tether’s USDT stablecoin in money laundering and scams, particularly in Southeast Asia.
The report highlights the prevalence of online gambling platforms, especially illegal ones, as popular channels for cryptocurrency-based money launderers, with Tether being their preferred choice.
Tether’s role in underground fraud, including romantic scams known as “pig butchering,” is also brought to attention.
The report cites an instance where Tether assisted the U.S. Department of Justice in freezing $225 million in USDT linked to an international human trafficking group involved in a pig-butchering scam.
Furthermore, the report acknowledges the efforts of law enforcement agencies in disrupting money laundering networks that utilize Tether.
One such operation, conducted by Singaporean authorities in August 2023, resulted in the dismantling of a network and the recovery of approximately $735 million in cash and cryptocurrency.
The UN report’s findings raise serious concerns about the misuse of Tether, the world’s most valuable stablecoin by market capitalization, in facilitating illegal activities.
This could potentially tarnish the reputation of cryptocurrencies and stablecoins as legitimate financial instruments.
Tether CEO Paolo Ardoino announced in December 2023 that the company had onboarded the U.S. Secret Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation onto its platform, and has worked with regulators to freeze assets that belong to sanctioned individuals.