According to four sources cited by Reuters, a long-running criminal investigation into Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, is being delayed because of disagreements among prosecutors at the United States Department of Justice (DoJ).
The insiders added that the inquiry, which was initiated in 2018, focuses on Binance’s alignment with U.S. anti-money laundering rules and sanctions.
Some of the at least six federal prosecutors involved in the probe believe that the existing evidence justifies acting aggressively against the exchange and seeking criminal charges against officials, including founder Changpeng Zhao. Sources said others have advocated reviewing more evidence.
The investigation comprises three Justice Department offices: MLARS, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, and the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team.
The exchange’s defense counsel at Gibson Dunn have met with Justice Department authorities, adds the report. Meanwhile, the leading crypto exchange argues that a criminal trial would hurt a cryptocurrency market currently in a slump. According to three of the sources, potential plea deals were discussed.
A Binance representative stated:
“We don’t have any insight into the inner workings of the US Justice Department, nor would it be appropriate for us to comment if we did.”
Binance Making Big Moves in Bearish Market
There is a risk that Binance’s dominance in the market could be weakened if the inquiry finds the company and Zhao guilty of the charges. The tightening hold was felt when Binance.US launched its own PAC called the “Binance.US Innovation PAC“, also preparing for its political presence. The departure of the super PACs SBF and FTX from the American political scene resulted in an enhanced position of Binance.
However, this is not the first time that the exchange has been accused of something.
In June of this year, Binance.US, the US arm of the Binance cryptocurrency exchange, was taken to court in a class-action complaint by a group of investors who claimed the trading platform encouraged the trading of LUNA and UST tokens in the US.
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