Binance under fire: prosecutors eye 5-year oversight

U.S. prosecutors have called for stringent oversight of the Binance crypto exchange, proposing up to five years of monitoring. 

This follows Binance’s prior admission of noncompliance with U.S. anti-money laundering laws and sanctions mandates, for which they have consented to a substantial penalty that could reach $4.3 billion. 

According to a Bloomberg report, the accountability measures are contained within a sentencing memo that prosecutors presented to a federal judge in Seattle, to ensure adherence to legal standards for Binance in particular and the broader crypto industry moving forward.

As the crypto exchange admitted to facilitating transactions for recognized terrorist organizations, such as Hamas, the severity of the infringement has caused U.S. prosecutors to call for robust repercussions, including a significant financial penalty and an extended oversight period of up to five years.

Within these proceedings, the prosecution brought to light a massive gap in Binance’s compliance structure, revealing its lack of registration as a money services business—a crucial requirement for platforms engaging in currency transactions and conversions.

Furthermore, the prosecutors said the exchange’s inadequate anti-money laundering program exposed the platform and the American financial ecosystem to potential exploitation by bad actors.

Binance founder faces up to 18 months in prison

Changpeng Zhao, the previous chief executive of Binance, is currently awaiting his sentence after confessing to the anti-money laundering allegations. In a twist of fate, Zhao’s personal wealth saw an astronomical increase by almost $25 billion the same year the charges were brought against him.

The sentencing, originally due in February, was postponed to late April by the Seattle federal court. The speculation surrounding this delay and what it portends for Zhao’s future is rife, compounded by silence from his attorney, William Burck.

While Zhao could face a maximum of 10 years according to U.S. law, the prosecution memorandum has mentioned the possibility of an 18-month sentence. 

Binance, now under the leadership of new CEO Richard Teng, stands at a critical juncture. It’s tasked with renewing trust amongst its client base and regulators and preventing any large-scale customer departure during this tumultuous phase.

The outcome of its compliance enhancement efforts will invariably impact the broader crypto market.

The exchange’s native BNB token has largely stayed in the green amidst these developments. 

Per data from the crypto price tracking website CoinGecko, BNB has registered significant gains in the last week and fortnight. Over seven days, the coin’s price went up by 10% and repeated the same trick over 14 days, registering a 16.1% growth. 

In the last 24 hours, it increased by a much more modest 0.6%, accompanied by a trading volume to the tune of $741,625,299.

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