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DOJ divided over charging Binance for alleged crypto crimes, report says

Illicit funds processed by Binance in 2022 allegedly amounted to $10 billion.

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Suspected of alleged money laundering, tax evasion, and US sanctions violations, Binance has been under investigation by the US Department of Justice since 2018 but has never been formally accused of any wrongdoing. Now, Reuters reports that some federal prosecutors feel they’ve amassed enough evidence to file criminal charges against Binance—including individual charges against Binance founder Changpeng Zhao—but other DOJ officials are standing in the way.

Reuters reviewed Binance records and spoke to nearly a dozen sources to compile a “comprehensive” progress report detailing DOJ’s inquiry so far. Sources included former Binance advisers, as well as current and former US law enforcement officials. These sources told Reuters that prosecutors spread across three DOJ offices—the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS), the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington in Seattle, and the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET)—would have to agree “on any action against Binance.” But for now, they can’t agree. It seems that while NCET and the Seattle office are eager to prepare charges, MLARS leadership is causing further delay because they want more time to weigh all the evidence gathered against the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.

According to Reuters, evidence shows that Binance allegedly spent the past year processing “over $10 billion in payments for criminals and companies seeking to evade US sanctions,” while keeping “weak anti-money laundering controls” and plotting to evade regulators both in the US and globally.

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