A Bitcoin-friendly payment processor, Payza, is under criminal investigation by the United States government along with mobile payments platform Obopay.
The exact nature of the investigation is not yet known, as is Bitcoin’s relevance, if any. The US Department of Justice (DoJ) mentioned the investigation in a vague posting informing the public of a pause in civil proceedings involving the companies. It stated:
“The United States government, including Homeland Security Investigations and the Washington, D.C. Financial Crimes Task Force, is currently conducting a criminal investigation. As part of that investigation, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia has requested a United States District Judge to pause current civil litigation relating to Payza and Obopay. The Judge has paused the litigation until January 22, 2016. Shortly after that date, additional information will be made available on this website about the status of this investigation.”
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It then goes on to inform readers who have questions or concerns about their Obopay or Payza account on how to convey them to DoJ.
Payza began supporting bitcoin payments and purchases last year, stating to offer its services in 190 countries. It came into the spotlight when Charlie Shrem, a popular Bitcoin entrepreneur who was sentenced to two years in prison for funneling bitcoins to Silk Road, consulted for the firm on how to integrate bitcoin while under house arrest.
Some web postings suggest a connection between Payza and EgoPay, another payment processor that collapsed earlier this year.
Obopay does not appear to integrate with Bitcoin, although its former CEO, Carol Realini, is an angel investor in Bitcoin services provider BitX. The company has raised over $140 million in funding to date.