Suspected of alleged money laundering, tax evasion and violations of US sanctions, Binance has been under investigation by the US Department of Justice since 2018, but has never been formally charged with any wrongdoing. Now Reuters is reporting that some federal prosecutors think they have gathered enough evidence to bring criminal charges against Binance, including individual charges against Binance founder Changpeng Zhao, but other DOJ officials are blocking it.
Reuters reviewed Binance records and spoke to about a dozen sources to compile a “comprehensive” progress report detailing the DOJ’s inquiry. The sources included former Binance advisers, as well as current and former US law enforcement officials. Those sources told Reuters that three DOJ offices – the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Unit (MLARS), the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington in Seattle and the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Task Force (NCET) – would have to agree. “To any action against Binance.” But they still cannot agree. While NCET and the Seattle office seem eager to file charges, MLARS management is causing further delay as they want more time to weigh all the evidence gathered against the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.
According to Reuters, evidence shows that Binance processed “more than $10 billion in payments to criminals and companies trying to evade US sanctions” last year, maintained “weak anti-money laundering controls” and attempted to evade regulators in the US. did. and globally.
Although no charges have been filed, Binance has apparently devoted resources to persuading the DOJ to take any action. In the past few months, sources said Binance lawyers have even met with the DOJ to discuss potential plea deals. During those meetings, Binance lawyers also reportedly expressed concerns that the DOJ’s filing of charges could further disrupt the already collapsing cryptocurrency market.
Amidst the cryptocurrency crash, Binance continues to establish itself as the most dominant cryptocurrency platform, positioning itself as the hero cryptocurrency needs to reverse the current market downturn. As Reuters published its report today, Binance published a blog post by former IRS cybercrime special agent Tigran Gambarian, now the company’s head of global intelligence and investigations, apparently preempting the Reuters report by discussing how Binance is fighting cryptocrime.
“Crypto is NOT a safe haven for illegal activities,” Gambaryan wrote on his blog. “I know this is true, at least for Binance.”
The blog did not mention the DOJ investigation or the company’s alleged money laundering or sanctions violations. Instead, Gambaryan spoke more about Binance’s efforts starting in November 2021, including dramatically expanding the exchange’s security and compliance teams, which will include 300 investigators working to respond to “more than 47,000 law enforcement requests” and protect users from bad actors. provides general information.
“We are proud to have some of the world’s most renowned cyber investigators representing nearly every major international law enforcement agency in the world,” a Binance spokesperson told Reuters.
Binance has been scrutinized by the DOJ for its alleged privacy policies, with founder Zhao instructing employees to encrypt or delete internal messages or avoid putting any company information in writing. That has prevented the DOJ from accessing some records officials have requested and may be partly responsible for MLARS’ hesitation to press charges, Reuters reported.
A DOJ spokesman declined to comment to Ars. Binance did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment, but disputed a Reuters report about company activity involving illegal funds and secretive policies. “We have no knowledge of the internal affairs of the US Department of Justice, and if we did, it would be inappropriate for us to comment,” a Binance spokesperson told Reuters.
Also the Binance Twitter account he tweeted today, protesting the Reuters report, claiming that “Reuters got it wrong again.”
Reuters reports that Binance and its executives could face charges if the DOJ inquiry is dismissed. However, the inquiry may also result in an agreement or no action.