According to people familiar with the matter, the Justice Department is investigating whether Binance Holdings Ltd. was used illegally to let Russians skirt US sanctions and move money through the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange.
The inquiry by the Justice Department’s national security division is looking at whether Binance or company officials ran afoul of sanctions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to five people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named discussing a confidential investigation.
One of the people said that the probe, which hasn’t previously been reported, is moving on a parallel track with an existing inquiry by the criminal division. The development adds a new layer of scrutiny to the operator of the world’s biggest crypto exchange as the sector reels from a series of stunning bankruptcies and high-profile scandals.
Binance has been in discussions with the Justice Department to resolve previous complaints that the exchange was used to evade sanctions against Iran before strong compliance controls were put into place, according to another person familiar with the matter.