According to a report by Bloomberg, the U.S. Justice Department is conducting an investigation into whether Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, was involved in enabling Russians to evade U.S. sanctions. The probe is specifically linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and is being conducted by the Justice Department’s national security division alongside another inquiry led by its criminal division.
Binance has stated that it complies with all financial sanctions imposed by the U.S. and international authorities. The exchange claims to have implemented significant changes to its corporate governance structure in 2021, including the recruitment of experienced executives, in order to operate globally with increased transparency and integrity. Binance emphasizes its commitment to a zero-tolerance approach towards practices such as double registrations, anonymous identities, and suspicious sources of funds.
The investigation by the DOJ comes at a time when law enforcement agencies and regulators in the United States are intensifying their scrutiny of the cryptocurrency industry. In a recent enforcement action taken in March, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) accused Binance of deliberately evading federal law and operating an illegal digital asset derivatives exchange. The CFTC complaint included internal messages from Binance executives discussing transactions involving the U.S.-designated terrorist organization Hamas on the platform in 2019. Binance executives acknowledged the presence of customers engaged in illegal activities but reportedly turned a blind eye.