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Tweets from Kraken and Coinbase CEOs criticizing Trudeau’s emergency powers reportedly sent to Canadian police

February 23, 2022, 3:39 AM UTC

The Ontario Securities Commission has flagged Twitter posts from the chief executives of cryptocurrency exchanges Kraken and Coinbase Global Inc. to law enforcement, The Logic reported.

Tweets from Kraken CEO Jesse Powell and Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong that criticized Canada’s emergency orders aimed at ending trucker protests that have roiled the nation and recommended the use of harder-to-seize non-custodial crypto wallets have been sent to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, The Logic reported on Friday. It cited the OSC, which is the regulatory agency that administers and enforces securities legislation in Ontario, Canada’s most-populous province.

The Canadian government invoked emergency powers last week to put an end to anti-vaccine mandate protests by truckers who blocked much of downtown Ottawa around the national parliament buildings for nearly three weeks, with blockades also spreading to to key U.S. border crossings. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s emergency orders require financial institutions in Canada to examine customer records and take action against people involved with the protest, leading banks to freeze some accounts.

Trudeau said Monday his government will retain those powers for at least a few more days because of ongoing threats even after police cleared all blockades across the country. 

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police provided a list of suspect accounts to financial institutions—including crypto exchanges—last week after Trudeau issued the emergency edict. The RCMP clarified in a statement Monday that those named were “influencers in the illegal protest in Ottawa, and owners and/or drivers of vehicles who did not want to leave” and not donors to crowdsourced fundraisers for the protests.

So far, the financial squeeze by police has resulted in “the freezing of 219 financial products; the disclosure of 57 entities; the addresses of 253 Bitcoin shared with virtual currency exchangers; and, the proactive freezing of the account of a payment processor” worth C$3.8 million ($3 million),” the RCMP said.

A Coinbase spokesman declined to comment. A Kraken spokesperson said Tuesday evening the exchange complies with all regulatory requirements and regularly responds to requests from law enforcement, but declined to comment on specific cases. 

Representatives of the RCMP and the Ontario Securities Commission didn’t immediately return requests for comment sent Tuesday morning.

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