U.S. Attorneys Request Binance Crypto Exchange Insider Information on Its Anti-Money Laundering Reviews, as well as Reports Involving Binance's CEO Changpeng Zhao. This was reported by Reuters.
The law enforcement agency obtained the request in December 2020.
The Money Laundering Section of the Ministry of Justice allegedly asked Binance to voluntarily hand over messages from Zhao and 12 other executives and partners on the exchange's identification of illegal transactions and recruitment of clients in the United States.
The Department of Justice was also interested in any records of the company with instructions to «destroy, modify or delete documents from the Binance files» or «transferred from the United States».
Reuters sources explained that the DOJ request was part of an ongoing investigation into the exchange's compliance with US financial crime laws.
Authorities are also interested potential violations of the Bank Secrecy Law by Binance. Its rules require companies to register with the Ministry of Finance and comply with anti-money laundering regulations if they conduct «substantial» business in the USA.
Legislation to protect the country's financial system provides for prison terms of up to 10 years, Reuters noted.
«Regulators around the world turn to every major crypto exchange to better understand our industry. This is a standard process for any regulated company. We are constantly working with the departments to resolve any issues they may have,” Patrick Hillmann, Director of Communications at Binance, responded to a question about the investigation.
The security and compliance team has 500 people, he said. Among them are former regulators and law enforcement officials, Hillmann added.
In January, Reuters wrote that Binance repeatedly withheld information from regulators, neglected KYC procedures, and acted contrary to the recommendations of the compliance department.
In In June, the agency’s analysts said that in the period for 2017-2021, the attackers laundered at least $2.35 billion through Binance.
What is Binance?
Recall that the Indian authorities suspected the WazirX exchange of laundering money in excess of $350 million. In 2019, Binance announced the acquisition of the platform.
Zhao said that his company had no connection with the Indian crypto trading platform. According to him, the transaction did not take place.
WazirX co-founder Nishal Shetty denied a number of statements by the head of Binance regarding the relationship of the platforms.
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