U.S prosecutors are considering criminal charges against crypto exchange Binance and individual executives, including founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao, Reuters reported, citing two people.
The Department of Justice has also discussed possible plea deals with Binance's lawyers, the report added.
Prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle began investigating Binance in 2018 after a spate of cases that saw criminals use Binance to transfer illicit funds, according to Reuters.
Other prosecutors believe that more evidence needs to be gathered before a criminal case can be filed, causing a split within the Department of Justice.
"As has been reported widely, regulators are doing a sweeping review of every crypto company against many of the same issues. This nascent industry has grown quickly and Binance has shown its commitment to security and compliance through large investments in our team as well as the tools and technology we use to detect and deter illicit activity," a Binance spokesperson said.
Gambaryan added that Binance has increased its security and compliance headcount by more than 500% and that its team is "possibly even the strongest in the entire financial sector."
The DOJ was not immediately available for comment.
UPDATE (Dec. 12, 13:15 UTC): Adds context throughout and statement from Binance.
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