It’s hard to believe that Binance is still in business. 🤑
Changpeng Zhao, the founder, started the company in 2017 and he managed to stockpile so much money in the last 5 years that he is able to pay the largest single fine in US history – over $4 billion dollars.
By all accounts, Binance made over $20 billion a year in annual revenue enriching Zhao who is now worth over $10 billion.
The $4B fine, might sound large, but the company will live on.
The US Went After Binance This Week And Details Emerged
This week the Department of Justice, the Treasury Department, OFAC, FinCEN and the IRS collectively went after Binance for their willful and criminal disregard of the US AML laws.
As part of the settlement, the government announced a list of crimes and illegal activity conducted by the company over the last 4 years.
And it was eye opening to say the least. 👀
Here are 6 Horrible Things We Learned About Binance This Week
These were some of the more horrible things we learned about Binance.
#1 – They Never Filed A SAR (Ever)
Binance was required to report suspicious transactions to FinCEN through suspicious activity reports (SARs). But they never did. Binance’s former Chief Compliance Officer told personnel that the CEO’s policy was to not report such activity, and Binance never filed a single SAR with FinCEN.
But it’s not like they didn’t have suspicious activity. No, that is not the case at all.
#2 – The Government Estimated They Should Have Filed 100,000 Or More SARS
After an investigation, it was revealed that Binance neglected to report over 100,000 SAR’s for criminal events and potential money laundering.
According to FinCEN, Binance willfully failed to report well over 100,000 suspicious transactions that it processed as a result of its deficient controls, including transactions involving terrorist organizations, ransomware, child sexual exploitation material, frauds, and scams.
#3 – They Financed Some Of The Most Evil Terrorist Groups In The World
Binance worked with some of the worst of the worst. The government says that Binance failed to report to FinCEN transactions associated with terrorist groups including Al Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
#4 – They Took Money From Ransomware Criminals
Binance customers also included prolific ransomware groups. And the evidence against them was damming.
Despite being one of the largest receivers of ransomware proceeds, and transacting in millions of dollars of ransomware proceeds from attacks involving at least 24 different strains of ransomware, Binance failed to report these transactions.
When analyst wanted to report the transactions, Binance’s former Chief Compliance Officer instructed his team to take no action as the addresses were associated with a high-value client who had indirect exposure to a darknet market.
#5 – They Never Reported Child Sexual Abuse Materials
Binance never reported transactions with websites devoted to selling child sexual abuse materials, including a website called Dark Scandals.
Dark Scandals was a site hosted on both the Darknet and Clearnet that featured videos and depictions of child pornography
#6 – They Never Reported Dark Web Sales of Drugs and Counterfeiting
Despite sending and receiving virtual assets proceeds from large-scale hacks, account takeovers, and darknet markets dealing in illegal narcotics, counterfeit and fraud-related goods and services, as well as other illegal contraband, Binance never reported any such transactions.
#7 – Customers Could Sign Up For Binance With Only An Email Address
There was virtually zero KYC checks being done.
In fact, From July 2017 through at least August 2021, customers were permitted to open accounts and conduct transactions with only an email address. Binance performed no due diligence on such accounts.
More To Come – The SEC Is Coming After Binance Next
If Binance thinks they are out of the woods, they are mistaken. The SEC was notably absent from the settlement and their action could hurt Binance even more.
In the hours after the $4 billion settlement was announced, customers withdrew over $1 billion in assets from the company – about 25% of the total in the exchange.
All this, and not to mention they are going to be under intense scrutiny for the next 5 years.
Things don’t look great for Binance..