US probes Binance for breaking Russian sanctions


The US Justice Department is reportedly investigating for possibly breaking Russian sanctions. Bloomberg reports that Binance is being scrutinized for allowing Russian clients to transfer funds in circumvention of US sanctions on Russian financial institutions.

Binance is also said to be in discussions about settling previous allegations that it enabled moving money to evade US sanctions against Iran.

Following the sanctions imposed on Russian financial institutions due to the invasion of Ukraine, Ukraine's Vice Prime Minister asked major exchanges to freeze Russian and Belarusian accounts, but Binance refused to comply.

A Binance spokesperson argued that such a ban would harm ordinary users and not just Russian oligarchs, going against the purpose of cryptocurrencies.

Binance is currently facing multiple investigations. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Internal Revenue Service have been investigating reports of money laundering via Binance in 2021. Meanwhile, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) charged Binance and its founder Changpeng Zhao earlier this year for various violations, including offering unregistered crypto derivatives and not verifying users' identities. Binance expressed disappointment and claimed that the charges were unexpected.

According to Bloomberg, the DOJ is now investigating Binance for potentially violating Russian sanctions. Binance reportedly enabled Russian customers to move money, allowing them to bypass US sanctions on Russian financial institutions.

However, Binance denied the allegations in a statement. They claimed to have launched an initiative to overhaul their corporate governance structure, bringing in experienced executives to change how Binance operates globally. The statement also said that Binance now follows strict know-your-customer protocols like traditional banks and has a zero-tolerance approach to double registrations, anonymous identities, and suspicious sources of money.

While the statement does not specifically address the DOJ's investigation, it seems to deny that Binance allowed Russian users to flout US sanctions.

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