U.S. federal prosecutors asked cryptocurrency exchange giant Binance for extensive internal records about its anti-money laundering checks along with messages from CEO and founder Changpeng Zhao and 12 other executives and partners, Reuters has reported.
According to a late-2020 written request, the investigation includes possible illegal transactions and recruitment of U.S. customers, as well as documents destroyed, altered, or removed from the company’s files.
The request was part of a Justice Department investigation into Binance’s compliance with U.S. financial crime laws that remains ongoing. U.S. authorities are investigating whether the company violated the Bank Secrecy Act, a law designed to protect the U.S. financial system from illicit finance.
Binance Chief Communications Officer Patrick Hillmann said these investigations are a standard process.
“Regulators across the globe are reaching out to every major crypto exchange to better understand our industry. This is a standard process for any regulated organization and we work with agencies regularly to address any questions they may have,” Hillmann said.
Binance was launched in Shanghai in 2017 and in few months controlled over half of the world’s crypto trading markets, processing transactions worth more than $2 trillion on July.
Crypto exchanges are under increasing scrutiny in the U.S. Earlier this year, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen publicly backed greater regulation of the sector.