The U.S. Justice Department is seeking more than $4 billion from Binance Holdings as part of a proposed resolution of a years-long investigation, Bloomberg News reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the discussions.
Negotiations between the Justice Department and Binance include the possibility that the cryptocurrency exchange’s founder, Changpeng Zhao, would face criminal charges in the United States, the report said.
The potentially hefty penalty could end a longstanding investigation into the company.
Binance has been under the Justice Department’s scanner since at least 2018, Reuters reported last year.
U.S. federal prosecutors asked Binance in December 2020 to provide internal records about its anti-money laundering checks, along with communications involving Zhao, Reuters has reported.
The DoJ probe is one of a string of legal and regulatory headaches the world’s biggest crypto exchange faces in the United States.
In June, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued Binance and Zhao, accusing them of operating an “elaborate scheme to evade U.S. federal securities laws.”
Binance denied the SEC’s allegations and said it would “vigorously defend” its platform.
The company has also witnessed an executive exodus and slumping market share this year.
At least a dozen executives have left the exchange in recent months, including Binance’s chief strategy officer, general counsel and chief product officer.
Binance did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. The Justice Department declined to comment.
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