An Iranian Bitcoin trader called Mohammad Ghorbaniyan says that the government of the United States accused him of something that he did not do. According to the U. S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the man would belong in a sanctions list that cut him out of all the American financial system.
Ghorbaniyan was one among others that were considered guilty by the U. S. and were blacklisted. He went to the media to affirm that he was not aware that money had been stolen using the Bitcoin he held and that the allegations that he extorted money from over 200 victims are wrong. The victims included hospital, government agencies and other institutions.
All of them were attacked by the SamSam ransomware and Ghorbaniyan, which was interviewed by Coindesk, was accused of laundering the money of the people being behind the attacks. While he admits converting Bitcoin to the Iranian fiat cash for Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri and Faramarz Shahi Savandi, he affirmed that he did not know they were accused of any crime.
As the fallout of the accusations, the man had its Blockchain.info and Gmail accounts shut down.
According to the interview, the man was only associated with the two criminals to trade the money and he did not know they were behind ransomware crimes as he only traded Bitcoin with them. Messenger apps like WhatsApp and Telegram were widely used for communication but he claims that they did not meet at all. The apps are very common for P2P transactions in Iran.
They were, he affirms, like “any other customer” he ever had. He claims that he even had a Know Your Customer (KYC) procedure made to check on them. According to him, the procedure is to take a selfie with the bank account cards that the person hold and a valid national ID card, along with a phone number that could be used.
He affirmed that he was unsure that the men were even criminals because, during a conversation, they once said that they wanted to sell 50 BTC by themselves and that they did not need an exchanger, so he believed that they were exchanger themselves.
Ghorbaniyan also denies that he trades with criminals and affirmed that he stopped trading with people as soon as they show any sign that they were criminals and that he is ready to share all his data from all his trades with the Iranian Cyber Police.
However, the situation is worse because it was the United States, which has a sour relationship with Iran, that declared him a criminal that should be blacklisted. He was apparently angry for being wrongfully accused and promised to help the authorities in any way he could.
According to him, he only follows the law of Iran and it is not his fault if the U. S. has stricter policies for exchanges. He went to the police as soon as he was accused and regrets ever trading with the criminal duo but he affirms that he has a legitimate business trading cryptocurrencies and that this was a mistake made by the government of the U. S.
Now, he wants the help of the local police to make his situation with the U. S. so he can be taken out of the blacklist.
The case is an example of how necessary cryptos can be for a more decentralized world. The government of the United States will hardly even pay attention to the man now that he was blacklisted and this can cause him a major pain and financial trouble. If the world’s financial system was not so centered around the USD, at least the man could have a chance of getting back on his feet.