Amid the turmoil in the industry, reports now have it that Binance is under investigation for possible money laundering and criminal sanctions violations by the U.S. Justice Department.
Binance has been under investigation since 2018. The investigation is focused on Binance’s compliance with U.S. anti-money laundering laws and sanctions, said Reuters citing people familiar with the matter.
Enough Evidence Gathered to Charge Binance and Its Executives
Several prosecutors involved in the case have concluded that evidence gathered from the investigation is enough to “aggressively” move against Binance and file criminal charges against each of the individual executives, including the CEO Changpeng Zhao, according to Reuters.
However, despite the proclaimed enough gathered evidence, the indecision between the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) prosecutors is delaying the conclusion of the long-running criminal investigation on Binance.
The prosecutors involved include three Justice Department offices: the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, known as MLARS, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington in Seattle, and the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team.
According to Reuters, Justice Department regulations say the MLARS chief must approve money laundering charges against a financial institution such as Binance. Leaders from the other two offices, together with higher-level DOJ officials, would possibly also sign off on any action against Binance.
Binance says it has no insight into the “inner workings of the US Justice Department.”
As of now, should the investigation, which is now close to conclusion, go against Binance, chances are Binance could be in trouble, putting its reputation in the industry at risk.
In relation to the ongoing investigation of the exchange, Binance defense attorneys at U.S. law firm Gibson Dunn have held several meetings in the past months with Justice Department officials to have some discussions.
The discussions included potential plea deals; a Binance spokesperson noted, “We don’t have any insight into the inner workings of the US Justice Department, nor would it be appropriate for us to comment if we did.”
Notably, charges Binance has been under investigation for over the past years include unlicensed money transmission, money laundering scheme, and criminal sanctions violations. Currently, the US Justice Department has not finalized any decision.
Though, as reported by Reuters, prosecutors have regarded CZ and some other executives to be subjects of the investigation, it is said that the Justice Department could eventually bring indictments against Binance and its executives, negotiate a settlement, or close the case without taking any action at all.