US regulators accused Binance executives of joking about illegal transactions that Hamas have made
US regulators have accused Binance executives of joking in internal office chats about illegal transactions that terrorists and criminals could have made on their crypto platform.
“Like come on, they are here for crime,” wrote then-chief compliance officer for Binance, Samuel Lim, per a complaint filed on Monday by the Commodities Futures and Trading Commission.
An unnamed employee with the title “Money Laundering Reporting Officer” replied: “We see the bad, but we close two eyes,” per the complaint.
The conversation was about several Russian customers that Binance was handling, and took place in an internal office chat in February 2020, per the CFTC.
And when discussing “HAMAS transactions” in February 2019, Lim explained to another colleague that terrorists typically send “small sums” of cash because “large sums constitute money laundering,” the complaint said. In 1997, the US State Department designated HAMAS as a foreign terrorist organization.
“Can barely buy an AK-47 with 600 bucks,” the colleague replied, the CFTC said.
The complaint said Lim described a Binance compliance audit as a “half assed individual sub audit on geo(fencing)” to “buy us more time.”
“I HAZ NO CONFIDENCE IN OUR GEOFENCING,” the Money Laundering Reporting Officer wrote to Lim during this audit, per the complaint.
She also wrote that she would “need to write a fake annual MLRO report to Binance board of directors wtf,” the CFTC said.
“Yea its fine I can get mgmt to sign,” Lim responded, per the CFTC’s complaint.
“Lim’s internal discussions with compliance colleagues illustrate that Binance has tolerated Binance customers’ use of the platform to facilitate ‘illicit activity,'” said the CFTC’s complaint.
Binance is being sued by the CFTC, which accused the exchange, its CEO Changpeng Zhao, and Lim of breaking US financial laws and attempting to dodge regulation. The government agency seeks to ban Binance from registering and trading in the US.
“The defendants’ own emails and chats reflect that Binance’s compliance efforts have been a sham and Binance deliberately chose – over and over – to place profits over following the law,” said Gretchen Lowe, the CFTC’s Enforcement Division Principal Deputy Director and Chief Counsel in a statement on Monday.
In a Tuesday statement, Zhao said the CFTC’s complaint “appears to contain an incomplete recitation of facts,” and disputed “the characterization of many of the issues alleged in the complaint.”
In an email to Insider, a spokesperson for Binance called the prosecutors’ filing “unexpected and disappointing,” but added that the exchange intends to “continue to collaborate” with US regulators. The representative did not respond to questions about the specific allegations made by prosecutors regarding potential Hamas-linked transactions.
Source » businessinsider