- Reuters claims the DOJ’s inquiry involves prosecutors at the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington in Seattle, and the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team.
- Binance, refuting reports of possible criminal charges, said it has a team of almost 300 cyber investigators collaborating with authorities around the world.
Earlier today, Reuters reported that a possible division among prosecutors in the US Department of Justice is delaying the completion of a lengthy criminal investigation into Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange. The platform claimed that sources familiar with the matter said prosecutors have different opinions about whether the present evidence is sufficient to press charges against the exchange and its executives.
However, Binance took to Twitter to dismiss the report, claiming the news site got it wrong this time. The trading platform accused Reuters of “attacking our incredible law enforcement team. A team that we’re incredibly proud of – they’ve made crypto more secure for all of us.”
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
Binance shared a statement and a blog post detailing its fight against crime. The trading company, via a spokesperson, said it does not have any insight into the inner workings of the US Justice Department, adding that it would be inappropriate to comment if it did.
Binance revealed that it had in its ranks some of the most renowned cyber investigators representing major law enforcement agencies around the world. The popular exchange further said it has a team of almost 300 financial crime investigators working to keep users safe, adding that “their hard work has directly resulted in a crypto ecosystem that has far less criminal activity on average than the traditional cash system.”
Binance also noted that the team collaborated with law enforcement agencies around the world to solve cases involving hacks, scams, investment fraud, money laundering, nation-state-sponsored attacks, and other crimes. Additionally, the crypto exchange revealed that the team has held sessions with Interpol, Europol, and enforcement agents in Brazil, Argentina, and other countries.
Binance shared more details in a blog post, saying,
During the past year, this program has led to us sharing our insider knowledge and expertise over the course of more than 70 workshops and training sessions with law enforcement and prosecutors in a variety of countries — from Asia to Europe, and the Americas. The list includes Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Netherlands, Philippines, Sweden, South Korea, Thailand, and the UK — to name but a few.
Binance and the DOJ
The focus of the DOJ‘s inquiry, which began in 2018, was Binance’s compliance with AML regulations and sanctions in the United States. U.S. authorities were looking into allegations of conspiracy to launder money, unauthorized money transmission, and criminal sanctions breaches.
According to two Reuter’s sources, several of the at least six federal prosecutors working the case feel that the information previously acquired supports taking serious action against the exchange and charging certain officials, including the founder Changpeng Zhao, with crimes. The sources claimed that others have urged for taking the time to consider further evidence.
According to the article, Binance’s defense lawyers met with Justice Department representatives recently and advocated against taking legal action. The crypto exchange warned that any legal action taken against them might have a disastrous effect on the cryptocurrency industry. The negotiations allegedly covered prospective plea bargains, according to the report.
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