Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao pictured at the Web Summit, in Lisbon

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

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