Crypto Exchange Kraken Names New Compliance Chief After Months of Searching

Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken said it named CJ Rinaldi as its new chief compliance officer, hiring him from rival Blockchain.com, as it continues to revamp its compliance program after a sanctions violation settlement amid increasing regulatory scrutiny of the crypto sector.  

Mr. Rinaldi most recently served as Blockchain.com’s chief compliance officer for about a year, where he implemented global compliance frameworks and mitigated compliance risks. Before joining London-based Blockchain.com in October 2021, he was the head of markets compliance in the Americas for broker-dealer Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. 

Mr. Rinaldi also served as a senior counsel in the enforcement division of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission between 1991 and 1997, and has held leadership roles at financial institutions including UBS Investment Bank and hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, helping some of the organizations implement requirements from the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and working with regulators. 

Kraken, which was founded in 2011, began its search for a new compliance chief after Steven Christie left the company after four years for rival exchange Binance last May. 

The conclusion of the search for a compliance chief comes as Kraken agreed to invest in its compliance programs as part of a settlement agreement with the U.S. Treasury Department.

Kraken in November agreed to pay more than $362,000 to settle allegations it violated U.S. sanctions against Iran. The company allegedly violated U.S. sanctions laws by failing to prevent users in Iran from accessing its platform, which allowed them to conduct transactions worth more than $1.68 million between October 2015 and June 2019, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said at the time. 

OFAC said Kraken didn’t implement in a timely manner appropriate tools that identify users’ locations, including an automated internet protocol address blocking system, according to the settlement. As part of the agreement, Kraken will invest $100,000 in its sanctions compliance controls, which include training and technical measures.

Kraken is in the midst of a leadership shake-up. The company said in September that Chief Operating Officer Dave Ripley will succeed Chief Executive

Jesse Powell.

They remain in their current positions as Kraken continues to search for a new chief operating officer to succeed Mr. Ripley. Kraken also hired a new chief financial officer and new chief marketing officer last year.

Write to Mengqi Sun at [email protected]

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