IRS criminal investigation chief joins Chainalysis: ‘It’s time to move on’

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Jim Lee said his move was partly due to Chainalysis “[leading] the way from the private sector in making cryptocurrency safe.”

IRS criminal investigation chief joins Chainalysis: ‘It’s time to move on’

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A 29-year veteran of the United States government, including three years as chief of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Criminal Investigations team, has moved to a position at cryptocurrency analytics firm Chainalysis.

In an April 8 announcement, Chainalysis said Jim Lee had ended his time at the IRS and moved to become the analytics firm’s global head of capacity building. Lee said he plans to focus on “helping international agencies develop solutions against cryptocurrency-based crime.”

As the IRS’ chief of criminal investigations, Lee sometimes worked with Chainalysis to facilitate the seizure of crypto used for illicit purposes. In December 2023, he said digital assets posed a risk for financing terrorism and ransomware attacks but acknowledged most people use the technology for “legitimate purposes.”

“Crypto has brought greater transparency and efficiency to finance, and we’re still in the early innings,” said Lee. “I believe that with time, this technology can continue to give people more control over their money and heighten financial inclusion around the world. However, criminals of all stripes have also been quick to adopt cryptocurrency.”

In a March post on LinkedIn, Lee said

“It’s time to move on and give others a chance to lead.”

Lee said his move to Chainalysis was partly due to the company “[leading] the way from the private sector in making cryptocurrency safe.” The firm has often worked with U.S. authorities in criminal crypto cases, including ransomware attacks during the pandemic and tracing transactions for reporting taxes.

Related: Ransomware returns: Chainalysis flags record $1B payments in 2023

The former IRS chief announced his retirement from the criminal investigations team. In March, the agency said Guy Ficco would succeed Lee on April 1. Cointelegraph reached out to the IRS but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

Lee’s move to Chainalysis comes as U.S. lawmakers, including Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, express concerns about policymakers who previously legislated or enforced crypto rules moving into the digital asset industry after leaving the government. Senator Warren suggested that many officials could be laying the groundwork while in public service to “audition” for positions in the private sector involving crypto.

Magazine: Lawmakers’ fear and doubt drives proposed crypto regulations in US

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