According to sources, negotiations between the US Department of Justice and Binance also include the possibility of criminal proceedings against Changpeng Zhao, the founder of the cryptocurrency exchange, in the United States.
Although the date of the conclusion of the investigation is uncertain, according to the sources, an announcement may be made at the end of the month.
Binance has been under investigation by the DOJ for various matters since at least 2018. In December 2020, federal prosecutors requested internal records of internal anti-money laundering practices and communications involving Zhao.
The investigation is also just one of the many legal and regulatory challenges Binance is facing in the United States. In June, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against Binance and Zhao, alleging that they operate a “sophisticated scheme to evade US federal securities laws.” Binance denied these claims and promised to strongly defend its platform.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued Binance in March for allegedly operating an “illegal” exchange and a “sham” compliance program, accusing them of “intentionally evading” US commodity laws. Zhao called the accusations “an incomplete presentation of the facts.”
In addition to subdued crypto market movements compared to the peaks of 2021, Binance has not only lost market share, but several executives have also left the company. Recently, several key people, including the chief strategy officer, general counsel and product director, have left the crypto exchange.
Cover image credit: 2023 Getty Images