Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, is under investigation by the U.S.
Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service, according to people familiar with the matter.
The agencies are looking into whether Binance violated anti-money laundering lAWS and failed to properly register with financial authorities, the people said. The probe is in its early stages and may not lead to any enforcement action, they added.
Binance, founded in 2017 by Chinese entrepreneur Changpeng Zhao, has become one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges globally. It allows users to trade more than 100 digital tokens and lists new ones regularly.
The company has said it has more than 10 million users.
The Justice Department probe is being led by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, who have been investigating cryptocurrency exchanges for potential violations of U. lAWS, the people said. The IRS, which is looking into possible tax evasion related to Binance, is working with prosecutors in the Manhattan U.
S. attorney’s office, they added.
Binance didn’t respond to requests for comment. The Justice Department and IRS declined to comment.
It’s unclear how long the investigation has been going on or what specific transactions are being scrutinized. Binance has offices in Hong Kong, Tokyo and other locations around the world but isn’t registered with U. financial authorities as a money-services business or exchange platform.
Zhao has said Binance doesn’t serve U.
-based customers because the regulatory environment there is unclear. In an interview with Bloomberg News last year, he said Binance had “very few interactions” with American users and that “it’s not worth our time to comply with those regulations anyway.”.
-based investors can still trade on Binance by using a virtual private network to mask their location. But they can’t directly deposit or withdraw fiat currencies such as dollars from their accounts on the exchange.
The investigation of Binance is part of a broader effort by U.
authorities to crack down on potential money laundering and tax evasion involving cryptocurrencies. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have been investigating several cryptocurrency exchanges for more than a year, according to people familiar with the matter.
In November, prosecutors charged two founders of an exchange called BitFunder with defrauding investors and using their platform to sell unregistered securities. And earlier this month, federal agents seized $24 million from another exchange called BTC-e after charging its operator with running a $4 billion money-laundering scheme involving Bitcoin (BTC).
Binance is currently under investigation by both the United States Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service due to potential anti-money laundering law violations and failing to properly register with financial authorities respectively; however it remains uncertain as whether any enforcement action will be taken as the probe is still in its early stages according to people familiar with the matter..