The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service (IRS), according to a report from Bloomberg.
“As part of the inquiry, officials who probe money laundering and tax offenses have sought information from individuals with insight into Binance’s business,” per the report. “Chainalysis Inc., a blockchain forensics firm whose clients include U.S. federal agencies, concluded last year that among transactions that it examined, more funds tied to criminal activity flowed through Binance than any other crypto exchange.”
Binance is based in the Cayman Islands, with an office in Singapore, but no single headquarters. CEO Changpeng Zhao has said that Binance follows U.S. regulations and blocks American citizens from accessing its website, though it launched Binance.US in September 2019 to serve American clients with bitcoin trading in a compliant way. This American division hired former U.S. Treasury official Brian Brooks as its chief executive last month.
“While the Justice Department and IRS probe potential criminal violations, the specifics of what the agencies are examining couldn’t be determined, and not all inquiries lead to allegations of wrongdoing,” per Bloomberg.
Earlier this week, Binance temporarily suspended withdrawals from its platform, according to TheStreet.
The inquiry on the part of the IRS comes as the agency appears to be ramping up its efforts to compel bitcoin investors to pay applicable taxes.