- The US Justice Department is seeking over $4 billion from Binance to end a years-long investigation into alleged money laundering, bank fraud, and sanctions violations.
- Negotiations include the possibility that Binance founder Changpeng Zhao would face criminal charges in the US under an agreement to resolve the probe.
- A resolution could come by the end of November, but if no agreement is reached, federal prosecutors are prepared to file criminal charges against Binance and Zhao.
The US Justice Department is seeking a massive penalty from the world’s largest crypto exchange to end a long-running investigation. Negotiations are underway for a resolution that would include criminal charges against the company’s founder.
Seeking Billions to End Investigation
The US Justice Department is seeking more than $4 billion from Binance Holdings Ltd as part of a proposed resolution of a years-long investigation into the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.
Negotiations between the Justice Department and Binance include the possibility that its founder Changpeng Zhao would face criminal charges in the US under an agreement to resolve the probe into alleged money laundering, bank fraud and sanctions violations, according to people familiar with the discussions.
The case is one of the largest investigations the Justice Department has ever conducted into a cryptocurrency company.
Potential Charges Against Founder
Under the proposed resolution being negotiated, Binance and Zhao would likely face criminal charges from the Justice Department related to the alleged criminal activity.
Zhao is currently based overseas, so it’s unclear if he would submit to US jurisdiction. But he could be charged in absentia if no agreement is reached.
The Justice Department has significant leverage in the negotiations given the seriousness of the alleged criminal violations. The multi-billion dollar penalty being sought would be among the largest ever for a cryptocurrency firm.
A resolution could come as soon as the end of November if both sides can reach a deal. The negotiations are said to be fluid and the final outcome remains uncertain. If no agreement is reached, federal prosecutors are prepared to file criminal charges against Binance and Zhao.
The Justice Department’s investigation into Binance is one of the most high-profile crypto probes ever conducted. The huge penalty being sought underscores the government’s crackdown on alleged illicit activity in the digital asset industry.
While a settlement would allow Binance to resolve the criminal case by paying a fine, it would also likely require the company to admit to criminal violations. It remains to be seen if founder Changpeng Zhao will agree to face criminal charges in the US as part of any resolution.