Prosecutors at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) are reportedly split on filing charges against Binance and its executives on possible money laundering and sanctions violations, as part of a long-running criminal investigation of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.

See related article: Crypto prices recover amid plans by Binance, others to aid cash-short projects post FTX failure

Fast facts

  • At least six federal prosecutors believe the evidence gathered so far justifies filing criminal charges against Binance and its individual executives including CEO Changpeng Zhao, four unnamed sources told Reuters.
  • The investigation began in 2018 on Binance’s compliance with U.S. anti-money laundering laws and sanctions.
  • While no official charges have been made, the exchange is being investigated for unlicensed money transfers, money laundering conspiracy, and criminal sanctions violations.
  • The anonymous sources said that Binance’s defense attorneys at U.S.-based law firm Gibson Dunn had multiple meetings with DOJ officials in recent months, with Binance arguing that a criminal prosecution would further damage the crypto market, which is already in a downturn.
  • “Reuters has it wrong again,” posted Binance’s verified Twitter account that added “we don’t have any insights into the inner working of [DOJ],” and that “our financial crimes team of approximately 300 investigations is working on the front lines to protect users from illicit actors…”
  • Potential criminal charges could weaken Binance’s position as the world’s largest crypto exchange, which was further strengthened by the collapse of FTX.

See related article: Binance says it will set up crypto recovery fund, industry standards group