Circle denies ties with Palestinian groups, TRON founder

Stablecoin issuer Circle has denied allegations that it facilitates funding for terrorist organizations.

In a detailed letter addressed to U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren, Circle’s Chief Strategy Officer, Dante Disparte, responded to claims made by the Campaign for Accountability. The watchdog group had suggested in a letter to the senators that Circle, along with TRON founder Justin Sun and the US-based stablecoin issuer, might be involved in financing terrorist organizations.

Disparte stressed Circle’s compliance with regulatory standards as a licensed money transmitter in 46 states and its adherence to U.S. Bank Secrecy Act rules aimed at preventing money laundering. He specifically refuted the claim that Circle had any banking relationship with Justin Sun, the TRON Foundation, or Huobi Global (now HTX), stating that the company had severed ties with Sun earlier in the year.

Addressing the allegations about facilitating terror financing, Disparte highlighted Circle’s cooperation with law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Secret Service, in identifying fraud and assisting in fund recovery. He pointed out that public blockchain records showed only a minimal amount of Circle’s USD Coin (USDC), $160, was transferred between wallets linked to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as per the asset seizure by Israeli authorities in July. Moreover, he clarified that none of these funds originated from Circle.

“Circle does not facilitate, directly or indirectly, or finance Hamas (or any other illicit actors). Nor does Circle bank Justin Sun. To date, the U.S. government has not specifically designated Mr. Sun or his entities as Specially Designated Nationals. Nonetheless, Circle terminated all accounts held by Mr. Sun and his affiliated companies in February 2023,” the letter further reads.

Disparte also addressed the broader accusations made by the Campaign for Accountability, calling them “replete with errors, omissions, and misleading information.” He asserted that the allegations lacked corroboration and verification, particularly those sourced from unverified social media posts.

In the letter, Disparte reiterated Circle’s commitment to compliance and its support for strengthening anti-money laundering regulations in the cryptocurrency sector. He cited Circle’s support for recent legislation proposed by Warren and Senator Roger Marshall to enhance these measures.

Earlier in March, Justin Sun was charged by the US Securities and Exchange Commission with market manipulation, fraud, and other offenses. Additionally, eight celebrities, including actress Lindsay Lohan and rapper Soulja Boy, have been accused of unlawfully promoting Sun’s crypto assets.

The SEC alleges that the Chinese entrepreneur and his companies conspired to distribute billions of cryptoassets and artificially inflate trade volumes in order to lure in investors. The federal agency also claims that Sun manipulated the price of BitTorrent’s BTT token.