Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, is facing a probe by the US Justice Department’s national security division for allegedly allowing Russian users to access its platform in breach of US sanctions, according to a report by Coin Telegraph.
The report, which cited five people familiar with the matter, said the investigation is looking into whether Binance or its officials violated US sanctions related to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its interference in Ukraine. The probe also examines whether Binance complied with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulations.
Binance has not been accused of any wrongdoing and the inquiry is still ongoing, the report said. The exchange told Bloomberg that it complies with all US and international sanctions and has a robust compliance program that verifies the identity and residence of its customers.
Binance is no stranger to regulatory scrutiny, as it has faced several investigations and lawsuits from various authorities worldwide.
In March, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) sued Binance for allegedly offering unregistered derivatives products to US customers.
In April, Brazil’s securities regulator ordered Binance to stop offering crypto derivatives. In May, Israel reportedly seized nearly 200 Binance accounts linked to terrorist groups.
Binance has maintained that it operates legally and cooperates with regulators. It has also claimed that it has built the world’s largest compliance team in the crypto space, with over 700 members who handle more than 1,300 law enforcement requests per week.
The Justice Department’s probe into Binance’s possible sanctions violations comes amid a broader crackdown on the crypto industry by the US government, which has expressed concerns about the illicit use of digital assets and the lack of oversight and transparency in the sector.