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05 December 2020

The Long Arm of Justice: How Far Can the DoJ Really Go in Prosecuting Foreign Actors?

The Long Arm of Justice: How Far Can the DoJ Really Go in Prosecuting Foreign Actors?


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Department of Justice revealed itsCryptocurrency Enforcement Framework, a report laying bare the government’s vision for emerging threats and enforcement strategies in the cryptocurrency space.

One of the fundamental principles that the governmentasserts in the document is its broad extraterritorial jurisdiction over foreign-based actors who use virtual assets in ways that harm U.S.

law enforcement is justified in prosecuting criminal actors beyond the nation’s borders if their activity has adversely affected individuals, companies, or infrastructure at home is nothing new, especially when it comes to cyber and financial crimes.

Dan Newcomb, attorney at law firm Shearman & Sterling, said that there is nothing particularly extraordinary about the extraterritorial approach enshrined in the Cryptocurrency Enforcement Guidelines, as the DoJ has previously used a “wide variety of tools to hold foreign-based actors responsible for crimes punishable under U.S.

Asserting similar jurisdiction over those who use digital currencies appears to be a defensible extension of the principle already at work.

Gail Fuller, a vice president at K2 Intelligence Financial Integrity Network, said that she considers the extensive extraterritorial jurisdiction asserted in the DoJ framework as “broadly consistent with the overall U.S.

James Farrell, deputy general counsel at trading solutions provider Apifiny, sees the enforcement guidelines as the reminder to the crypto industry about something that has been well-known to the traditional finance for over a decade: If an act of financial misconduct has a substantial effect in the U.S., the SEC and DoJ can and will go after those responsible.

Covington & Burling’s Devlin-Brown said that the Justice Department can rely on a number of powerful statutes that can be used to prosecute foreign-based cryptocurrency actors:.

attorney for the Eastern District of New York, told Cointelegraph that the DoJ report does not reveal any new instruments for prosecuting foreign-based actors

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