Major blow to Binance from the United States

Emre Çitak
Nov 21, 2023
Crypto & Blockchain

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The cryptocurrency exchange platform Binance faces a possible $4 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to settle a criminal investigation into the company's business practices, according to a report by Reuters.

The investigation, which was launched in 2021, is focused on allegations that Binance violated U.S. money laundering laws by failing to properly vet its customers and prevent them from using its platform to launder money.

Apart from the Binance settlement, the company has also been accused of insider trading and market manipulation.

Binance settlement is valued at $4 billion

Binance settlement hits CEO hard

Binance founder Changpeng Zhao will likely face criminal charges in the US as part of $4BN settlement of money laundering, bank fraud and sanctions violations, it's reported.

Negotiations between the Justice Department and Binance include the possibility that the cryptocurrency exchange's founder, Changpeng Zhao, would face criminal charges in the United States.

Bloomberg News reported the proposed resolution this evening (Monday), citing people familiar with the discussions.

An agreement could resolve the probe into the company for alleged money laundering, bank fraud and sanctions violations, the report said.

The investigation is being led by the DOJ's criminal division's money laundering and asset recovery section, along with the national security division and the US attorney's office in Seattle.

Read alsoSEC seeks freeze on Binance.US assets amid claims.

How about the future of Binance?

The Binance settlement seeks to strike a balance that would allow Binance to continue operating, rather than risk a collapse that could cause negative fallout for markets and crypto holders.

Zhao has residency in the UAE which complicates any extradition attempts as the country does not have an extradition treaty with the US. This however does not prevent him from going voluntarily to face charges.

The company has sought to minimize its exposure in any Binance settlement, including pushing for a deferred prosecution agreement.

An announcement of a deal could come as soon as the end of the month, though the situation remains fluid, according to the people, who asked not to be named discussing a confidential matter.

Changpeng Zhao will likely face criminal charges in the US

The clock is ticking for Binance settlement

The exact timing and structure of the Binance settlement and specific charges aren't clear. However, Binance would likely be expected to pay more than $4 billion, which would be one of the largest-ever penalties in a criminal cryptocurrency case.

If Binance and the DOJ agree on Binance settlement, the Justice Department would/will file a criminal complaint against the company.

The US would not go forward with prosecution as long as the company meets prescribed conditions, which usually include paying a substantial penalty. Then a process would be set up to monitor the company's compliance.

The past is not so bright

Binance has been under the Justice Department's scanner since at least 2018. In December 2020 federal prosecutors asked the company to provide internal records about its AML checks, along with communications involving Zhao.

The DoJ probe is one of a string of legal and regulatory headaches the world's biggest crypto exchange faces in the United States.

In June, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued Binance and Zhao, accusing them of operating an “elaborate scheme to evade U.S. federal securities laws.”

Binance denied the SEC's allegations and said it would “vigorously defend” its platform.

The company has also witnessed an executive exodus and slumping market share this year.

At least a dozen executives have left the exchange in recent months, including Binance's chief strategy officer, general counsel and chief product officer.


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  1. David Dzidzikashvili said on November 22, 2023 at 1:54 pm

    The SEC and US authorities have been relentlessly targeting CZ and Binance over the past few years. What concerns me is the fact that the US authorities did not use the same extremely aggressive approach, tactics and investigation against FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried (until too late) and even after SBF violated his release conditions. Why such difference in treatment? Maybe the fact that Sam Bankman-Fried has US government connections with Gary Gensler through his parents (MIT) and girlfriend Caroline Ellison? The American justice system so far has treated Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX more favorably than CZ & Binance. But this won’t destroy Binance and won’t eliminate their dominant market position – something US authorities have been trying very hard to accomplish. Therefore, CZ used a smart tactic and listened to his lawyers and decided to plead guilty, pay the US fines and preserve Binance as a strong, viable business player in the crypto market. Very smart move and finally new chapter will open in the crypto universe. With the US authorities not pursuing any legal actions against the exchange, it will facilitate Binance’s further growth and help the overall crypto mass adoption. The future is bright and there is tons of new development and progress within the blockchain tech. The next bull run 2025-2026 (assuming all else equal and no more scandals or USDT liquidity issues), with take these hard facts into consideration and it will be the stepping stone for the Wall Street institutions to enter the crypto space via Bitcoin ETFs. Ethereum ETFs, etc. ETFs are coming and that’s why the US and Binance had to settle this fight. It’s great news for the crypto world! With EU’s MiCA Act in action, the US looks like set to develop (in near future) a standard-universal legal framework for the crypto, where all government agencies will be in agreement whether a crypto coin is a utility or a security…

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