Brazilian Crypto Exchanges Subpoenaed in Security Inquiry Amid Recent Hacking Scandal
As it evolves into one of the world’s leading hubs for cryptocurrency exchanges, Brazil’s government is taking questionable action to investigate potential money laundering usage.
Brazil’s Top 10 Crypto Exchanges Receive Subpoenas
A number of cryptocurrency exchanges have received a 14-question subpoena in the past two weeks and were ordered to file responses within five days, according to local publication Portal do Bitcoin.
While the document was disseminated under the Ministry of Finance’s name and signed by prosecutor Ana Paula Bez Batti, it remains unclear what kind of punishment violators may face should they fail to provide responses within the time limit. Of the country’s top 10 cryptocurrency exchanges, three were contacted for comment. Responses were varied, with some compliant in answering the entire inquiry and others claiming to avoid the prosecutor’s demands, as the request isn’t an “official document of justice.”
Despite being confidential, the Brazilian publication obtained access to the document, which states:
“Dear Sirs, In order to subsidize a study to Combat Corruption and Money Laundering, and following the FATF Recommendations to protect the integrity of the financial system, the Attorney of the National Treasury, in its role of Tax Administration, informs the following taxpayer to present the following answers.”
The questionnaire includes inquiries into compliance rules for customers, cash deposit limits in relation to declared income, and what measures are being taken to mitigate risks related to money laundering and terrorist financing. It goes on to ask companies to divulge their respective number of employees, whether or not exchanges trade coins for anonymity, and how many accounts an individual may possess for deposits, transfers and withdrawals.
Batti then concludes the inquiry by assuring exchanges their responses will be part of a confidential file with no fiscal character.
Hacking Brazilian Exchanges
The inquiry preceded a recent hacking of Brazilian cryptocurrency exchanges, where the private information of more than 264,000 users was exposed, including email addresses, phone numbers and account-related information. On the YouTube channel Digital Investment, it was reported that nearly 15,000 the 264,000 accounts hacked featured information on funds belonging to users of the Brazilian-based exchange, Atlas.
In a Facebook statement, Atlas said:
“We became aware early on Saturday night that a security incident involving the leakage of data from our customers occurred. We are conducting an investigation with our information security advisor to understand the incident in more detail and will cooperate with the appropriate authorities.”
After being revealed as the largest Bitcoin holder at 792 BTC, Atlas said the data breach was thoroughly investigated and users’ digital assets remain protected.
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