Washington | The US Justice Department is seeking more than $US4 billion ($6 billion) from Binance Holdings as part of a proposed resolution of a years-long investigation into the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.
Negotiations between the Justice Department and Binance include the possibility that its founder, Changpeng Zhao, would face criminal charges in the US under an agreement to resolve the probe into alleged money laundering, bank fraud and sanctions violations, said people familiar with the discussions.
Binance chief Changpeng Zhao. Bloomberg
Mr Zhao lives in the United Arab Emirates, which does not have an extradition treaty with the US, but that doesn’t prevent him from coming voluntarily.
Binance spokesmen were not immediately available for comment; the US Justice Department declined to comment. An announcement 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.
The BNB cryptocurrency, a token native to Binance and the BNB Chain blockchain that was created by the exchange, rose as much as 8.5 per cent to $US266.42.
“A settlement with a monitoring provision in place could be a compromise that protects investors and allows Binance the option to evolve into a more institutional and compliant future direction,” said Matt Walsh, founding partner at crypto venture firm Castle Island Ventures.
The exact timing and structure of the proposed resolution and specific charges aren’t clear. However, Binance would likely be expected to pay more than $US4 billion, which would be one of the largest-ever penalties in a criminal cryptocurrency case.
The investigation is being led by the criminal division’sRead more on afr.com