Binance faces fresh trouble after reports emerged that the US Justice Department [DoJ] is reportedly seeking over $4 billion as part of a proposed resolution in an extensive investigation into the world’s largest crypto exchange. This development, reported by Bloomberg and citing insider sources, has sent the alarm bells ringing as it differs from the civil lawsuits the top exchange previously faced, with the DoJ potentially bringing criminal charges against the exchange’s founder, Changpeng Zhao, a.k.a. CZ.
The ongoing investigation, which dates back to at least 2018, has been a significant challenge for Binance. The DoJ’s focus on the company intensified in December 2020 when federal prosecutors requested internal records related to anti-money laundering checks and communications involving CZ. If a resolution is reached, the substantial penalty sought by the DoJ could bring an end to this prolonged legal scrutiny.
Binance is embroiled in lengthy legal and regulatory woes in the United States, with the Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC] suing the exchange and CZ in June. The SEC accused the CZ-led firm of carrying out an “elaborate scheme to evade U.S. federal securities laws.” Binance has so far denied these allegations, expressing its commitment to vigorously defending its platform.
This legal turmoil has not been without consequences for Binance, as the crypto firm experienced an executive exodus and a decline in market share throughout the year. A notable departure includes the chief strategy officer, general counsel, and chief product officer, among others.
DoJ Vs Binance
The proposed $4 billion settlement, though significant, would represent a resolution to a complex legal chapter for Binance and the broader cryptocurrency industry. Analysts argue that the DoJ’s criminal investigation has been a major impediment to the crypto firm’s growth, and its resolution could pave the way for a more favorable market environment, potentially signaling the end of the obstacles hindering the launch of a bull market.
The Binance-issued BNB token has risen over 5% on the day. As of now, the exchange has not officially responded to requests for comment, and the DoJ has declined to provide any statements on the matter.