According to a Bloomberg report citing five people familiar with the matter, the national security division of the United States Department of Justice is investigating whether Binance allowed Russian customers to access the exchange in violation of U.S. sanctions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Justice Department investigation is an additional high-profile action against Binance, following a joint investigation with the Internal Revenue Service in 2021. Since at least early 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has also been investigating Binance’s relationship with two firms owned by its creator Changpeng Zhao.
The Justice Department and Binance did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Department of Justice declined Bloomberg’s request for comment.
According to a statement provided to Bloomberg by Binance, the company entirely complies with all U.S. and international financial sanctions. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed a lawsuit against Binance in late March 2023, alleging that the company knowingly offered unregistered crypto derivatives products in violation of federal law.
The exchange has repeatedly refuted allegations by stating that it has assembled the world’s largest compliance team in the industry – a 700-member team that “handles 1,300 law enforcement requests per week,” according to Tigran Gambaryan, the chief of compliance.
In recent days, Binance has claimed to have figured out how to prevent North Koreans from using its cryptocurrency exchange by “kicking their asses so hard that they realize Binance is not for them.”
In addition, Israel reportedly disclosed in early May 2023 that it had seized approximately 190 Binance accounts with alleged connections to terrorist organizations, including two ISIS accounts. Since neither Israel nor Binance explicitly stated that Binance had cooperated, it is unclear how Israel seized Binance accounts without Binance’s cooperation, given that Binance is not required to comply with Israeli laws.