Binance, regulators near multibillion-dollar criminal settlement

Crypto exchange Binance is in talks with US regulators to settle criminal charges and related investigations, according to people familiar with the matter. 

The US Department of Justice could collect between $4 and $5 billion from the settlement agreement, according to sources familiar. The exchange, which currently faces a civil suit in the US from the US Securities and Exchange Commission, has been in talks with the DOJ for years, the report added. 

The SEC’s suit alleges that the crypto exchange offered unregistered securities and commingled customer funds. 

The proposed deal between DOJ and Binance would continue to let the exchange operate, bypassing a possible collapse and ramifications, while also giving law enforcement access to the exchange’s expansive database. People familiar with the matter said that DOJ officials and other investigators are interested in leveraging the exchange to better monitor illicit financial activities. 

Binance competitor FTX collapsed last November. 

The settlement is reportedly being led by the DOJ’s money laundering and asset recovery team. 

Binance has been under investigation by the DOJ for years, with lawmakers urging the DOJ to make up its mind on any possible charges back in October. 

Additionally, Binance faces DOJ scrutiny for alleged sanctions evasions. According to reports, the company aided the evasion of Russian and Iranian sanctions. It’s also been accused of helping Hamas, though it worked with Israeli authorities to freeze Hamas-linked crypto accounts back in October.

The crypto exchange also faces a lawsuit from the Securities and Exchange Commission, with the regulator alleging that it offered unregistered securities and commingled customer funds.

Representatives from Binance and the DOJ did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The news sent the price of Binance’s token (BNB) soaring, pushing the digital asset’s value up nearly 7% as of press time, according to TradingView data.

Updated Nov. 20, 2023 at 1:17 pm ET: Clarified potential settlement value and allegations from the SEC’s lawsuit.

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