The US Department of Justice is investigating Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, for allegedly facilitating illicit transfers on its platform, according to a Reuters report on Monday.
The report, citing four people with knowledge of the matter, details how U.S. prosecutors are considering bringing criminal charges against individual Binance executives, including its CEO Changpeng Zhao.
The investigation reportedly began in 2018 when the U.S. Attorney’s office in Seattle began looking into a series of illicit transfers made by criminals through Binance. According to Reuters’ sources, DOJ prosecutors are split between filing a criminal case, as some believe more evidence needs to be gathered before bringing the allegations to light.
A Binance spokesperson responded to the Reuters report, saying that the publication “has it wrong again,” stressing the exchange’s focus on compliance with anti-money-laundering rules.
Reuters has it wrong again.
Now they're attacking our incredible law enforcement team. A team that we're incredibly proud of – they've made crypto more secure for all of us.
Here’s the full statement we sent the reporter and a blog about our remarkable law enforcement team.
— Binance (@binance) December 12, 2022
In a blog post on Monday, Tigran Gambaryan, Binance’s global head of intelligence and investigations, said the crypto exchange had responded to over 47,000 requests from law enforcement since November 2021.
Gambaryan, who served as a special agent at the IRS’s cyber crimes unit for a decade before joining Binance, said the firm had increased its security and compliance headcount by 500% in this year alone.
“Let this be known to the naysayers and aspiring criminals: crypto is not the criminal tool the media often makes it out to be,” he said in a statement.