DOJ Mulls Bringing Criminal Charges Against Binance: Report


Key Takeaways

  • Binance could soon be hit with charges of unlicensed money transmission, money laundering conspiracy, and criminal sanctions violations, according to a Reuters report.
  • The officers in charge of the investigation are reportedly conflicted on whether to file charges using the evidence already gathered, or keep investigating.
  • Changpeng Zhao responded to the report with a tweet implying that Reuters was being paid by Sam Bankman-Fried to spread fear, doubt, and uncertainty about Binance.

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Binance and its executives could be facing charges including unlicensed money transmission, money laundering conspiracy, and criminal sanctions violations—if prosecutors can agree on filing them.

Reuters vs. Binance

The FTX collapse hasn’t made Binance’s relationship with Reuters any better.

Today a new Reuters report claimed that the leading crypto exchange has been under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) since 2018. According to the article, Binance and its executives—including CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao—could eventually be charged with unlicensed money transmission, money laundering conspiracy, and criminal sanctions violations.

However, the various offices involved in the investigation are reportedly currently disagreeing on whether to keep gathering evidence or file criminal charges with the material they already possess. Top officials from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington in Seattle, the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, and the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team would likely need to reach an agreement before any action is taken. 

“Reuters has it wrong again,” Binance’s official account answered in a tweet. A company statement claimed that the exchange “works hand in glove with law enforcement to support casework on high-impact ransomware and hack cases, scam and investment frauds, counter-terrorism finance, nation-state-sponsored attacks, and major money-laundering groups.” The exchange did not comment on the specific charges mentioned in the article.

Zhao, for his part, responded with a tweet implying that Reuters was being paid by former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried to spread fear, doubt, and uncertainty about Binance. Zhao has been critical of Reuters’ reporting on Binance in the past, stating that some of their previous articles were “inaccurate” and written by “irresponsible journalists.”

Disclaimer: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned BTC, ETH, and several other crypto assets.

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DOJ Mulls Bringing Criminal Charges Against Binance: Report

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