Reuters reported that the U.S. Justice Department remained undecided about charging Binance with fraud and money laundering.
About a dozen prosecutors reportedly advised actions against the leading crypto exchange, its founder Changpeng Zhao, and other executives at the company.
Other lawyers proposed delaying any decision till more evidence can be reviewed.
Reuters reported that a “split” between prosecutors in the U.S. Department of Justice impeded a decision on whether criminal charges should be brought against crypto exchange Binance and its CEO Changpeng Zhao.
Federal prosecutors previously opened investigations into Binance and several executives at the company in 2018, including CZ. Reports said that Zhao and his company were under probe due to suspicions of “unlicensed money transmission, money laundering conspiracy, and criminal sanctions violations”.
Around a dozen prosecutors on the case proposed “aggressively moving” against Zhao’s company, Reuters reported on Monday. The U.S. Justice Department was unable to reach a consensus on the matter as other lawyers said more time was needed to review evidence.
Furthermore, Reuters claims that lawyers from Gibson Dunn met with Justice Department officials to discuss possible plea deals. Gibson Dunn represents the cryptocurrency exchange as a U.S. law firm.
Binance Calls Out Reuters
Friction between Binance and Reuters erupted following a series of reports from the media company that accused CZ’s exchange of violating U.S. sanctions and laundering $10 billion for criminal organizations. Binance said the reports leveraged outdated information and contested the claims.
On Monday, Reuters quoted a company spokesperson who said the crypto exchange had no “into the inner workings of the US Justice Department, nor would it be appropriate for us to comment if we did.”
Shortly after the story broke, Binance called out Reuters for cherry-picking their words in Monday’s report. The company published its full statement on the matter, claiming to have a good relationship with law enforcement and prosecutors.
While the response cites a blog post on a so-called law enforcement team started in 2021, the statement did not address claims of plea talks between CZ’s company and with the Department of Justice.
Crypto Industry On High Alert
The news comes on the heels of FUD around CZ’s company in the wake of FTX’s collapse. Users expressed skepticism about the company’s proof-of-reserves and proof-of-liabilities audit which was recently attested by Mazars.
Indeed, scrutiny of industry players and crypto companies surged after consecutive meltdowns in the crypto markets where entities like BlockFi, Celsius, FTX, Terra, and Three Arrows Capital wiped out billions in retail investments.