U.S. Justice Department Split Over Decision To Charge Binance In Criminal Investigation
Justice officials are reportedly deciding whether they have sufficient evidence to bring charges against the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.
- A Reuters report stated that several sources close to the investigation claim there is deliberation on whether to not to file charges against individual Binance executives including CEO Changpeng Zhao.
- Others within the investigating entities, which include the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS), have argued in favor of reviewing more evidence.
- The investigation, which was launched nearly two years ago, comes at a precarious time for the industry as it reels from the collapse of FTX.
Binance has responded to the Reuters report, stating on Twitter, “Reuters has it wrong again. Now they’re attacking our incredible law enforcement team. A team that we’re incredibly proud of – they’ve made crypto more secure for all of us,” with a link below to a blog post highlighting their claims of the competency of their security team.
According to Reuters’ sources, “discussions included potential plea deals,” in relation to charges of “unlicensed money transmission, money laundering conspiracy and criminal sanctions violations.”
As the news source notes, the investing bodies could bring an indictment against Binance and executives at the company, could accept a settlement or could do nothing to the company. Binance has reportedly argued that “A criminal prosecution would wreak havoc on a crypto market already in a prolonged downturn.”
The cryptocurrency exchange responded to the investigation by hiring a former chief of MLARS, Kendall Day, who reportedly has been meeting with Justice officials and communicating with investigators.
Binance is the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange with a 24 hour trading volume of about $10.5 billion on the day of reporting. A separate U.S. entity exists, Binance.US. The international company does not have an official headquarters according to the CEO.
12 December 2022 14:31