The Justice Department is investigating whether crypto exchange giant Binance was used to let Russians evade U.S. sanctions, Bloomberg reported.
The probe into the world’s largest crypto exchange is tied to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Justice Department’s national security division is leading the investigation, which is running in parallel to another inquiry by the agency’s criminal division.
Binance told Bloomberg it complies with all U.S. and international financial sanctions.
“In 2021, Binance launched an initiative to completely overhaul its corporate governance structure, including bringing in a world-class bench of seasoned executives to fundamentally change how Binance operates globally,” Binance said in a statement to Bloomberg. “Our policy imposes a zero-tolerance approach to double registrations, anonymous identities, and obscure sources of money.”
CFTC accused Binance
News of the DOJ probe comes as law enforcement and U.S. regulators increase scrutiny of the crypto industry. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission accused Binance of “willful evasion of federal law” and “operating an illegal digital asset derivatives exchange” in a March enforcement action.
Internal Binance messages included in the CFTC complaint show that Binance executives discussed transactions by the U.S.-designated terrorist organization Hamas on the exchange in 2019, for example. Binance officers even acknowledged some of their customers are “here for crime” on the platform, but said, “we see the bad, but we close 2 eyes.”
Binance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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