US federal prosecutors asked Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, to provide extensive internal records about its anti-money laundering checks, along with communications involving its chief executive and founder Changpeng Zhao, according to a late-2020 written request seen by Reuters.
A series of Reuters articles this year revealed how Binance drove its explosive growth while keeping weak customer checks and withholding information from regulators. Reuters found that the gaps in Binance’s compliance programme enabled criminals to launder at least $2.35 billion in illicit funds through the exchange, which also served traders in Iran despite U.S. sanctions. Until mid-2021, Binance customers could trade crypto by registering with just an email address
In addition to the Justice Department request, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a subpoena to Binance.US’s operator, BAM Trading Services, that same month. The subpoena, reviewed by Reuters, required BAM to hand over documents showing whether any employees also worked for the main Binance exchange and what services it was providing the U.S. company