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The United Nations has raised concerns over the use of Tether’s USDT stablecoin in criminal activities across Southeast Asia, as highlighted in a recent report.

An analysis by the UN’s office on drugs and crime, as reported by the Financial Times, indicates that USDT is increasingly being utilized by criminal gangs in the region. These groups are engaging in money laundering and operating illegal online gambling platforms with the help of the stablecoin.

“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.” said The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

The report does not quantify the exact extent of USDT’s role in these unlawful activities, but it emphasizes the “rapidly growing use of sophisticated, high-speed money laundering […] teams specializing in underground tether.” This trend has been observed intensifying in recent years.

An example cited by the Financial Times refers to a money laundering group in Myanmar and Cambodia that openly advertised USDT services for converting illicit tokens into cash on a public thoroughfare.

In response to these developments, Tether, the entity behind USDT, has shown a proactive stance towards working with U.S. law enforcement and regulatory bodies. In December 2023, Tether communicated its readiness to bolster efforts against illegal crypto activities and has been actively sharing information with relevant U.S. congressional committees.

Data sourced from Dune Analytics reveals Tether’s ongoing actions to curb illicit activities, with over 1,260 addresses linked to such acts being banned by the company. The total value of USDT in these banned wallets is reported to exceed $875 million.