Binance France under Probe over ‘Illegal’ Crypto Service, Money Laundering: Report


Binance’s
local unit in France is being investigated by public prosecutors in Paris over ‘illegal’ provision of crypto services before it was licensed
in May last year, CoinDesk reports. The exchange is also being probed for ‘acts of
aggravated money laundering ”, the outlet said, citing the French city’s public
prosecutor’s office.

Local
French daily, Le Monde, also reported receiving the same information from the
prosecutor’s office. The outlet said Binance is suspected to have been offering digital
asset services in the country since 2020. The exchange is also being scrutinized over the likelihood it engaged in crypto promotion
before it became registered.

French
anti-financial crime agency, the Financial Judicial Investigation Service,
started investigating Binance in February 2022, with direction from specialized
court, JIRS Paris, the publication reported.

The
revelation about Binance France comes at a time the world’s largest
cryptocurrency exchange is battling a lawsuit from the US Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC) which alleged that the exchange offered unregistered
securities on its illegal trading platform. US derivatives industry watchdog, the
Commodity Futures Trading Commission, made similar
allegations earlier in
March.

However,
reacting to the development, Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s CEO, in a tweet posted on Friday dismissed the report as “not news”, saying the exchange got a “surprise
visit” from local authorities “a couple of weeks ago”. This type of
“on-site inspections of regulated businesses are the norm for banks, and now
for crypto too,” Zhao wrote. The CEO added that other
unnamed ‘well known’ crypto
firms in Paris were also inspected. He pledged that Binance France remains the
company’s ‘flagship
centre in Europe’.

In a separate
tweet, Binance said that it “had an on-site visit last week by the
relevant authorities,” but “will not comment on the specifics of law
enforcement or regulatory investigations.”

“Binance,
as always, was fully collaborative and we met our obligations accordingly,” Binance stated. “We continue to work closely with regulators and law enforcement agencies
on all ongoing compliance requirements to uphold high standards.”

Binance Faces Setback in Europe

Meanwhile,
Binance, which recently marked its seventh license in the European Union area,
suffered a blow in its expansion efforts on the continent. On Friday, the exchange
announced its exit from the
Netherlands after
failing to secure a virtual asset service provider license. The exchange has
also applied to cancel its
Cypriot license, saying it wants to focus its efforts on its “fewer regulated entities
in the EU.”

Binance’s
local unit in France is being investigated by public prosecutors in Paris over ‘illegal’ provision of crypto services before it was licensed
in May last year, CoinDesk reports. The exchange is also being probed for ‘acts of
aggravated money laundering ”, the outlet said, citing the French city’s public
prosecutor’s office.

Local
French daily, Le Monde, also reported receiving the same information from the
prosecutor’s office. The outlet said Binance is suspected to have been offering digital
asset services in the country since 2020. The exchange is also being scrutinized over the likelihood it engaged in crypto promotion
before it became registered.

French
anti-financial crime agency, the Financial Judicial Investigation Service,
started investigating Binance in February 2022, with direction from specialized
court, JIRS Paris, the publication reported.

The
revelation about Binance France comes at a time the world’s largest
cryptocurrency exchange is battling a lawsuit from the US Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC) which alleged that the exchange offered unregistered
securities on its illegal trading platform. US derivatives industry watchdog, the
Commodity Futures Trading Commission, made similar
allegations earlier in
March.

However,
reacting to the development, Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s CEO, in a tweet posted on Friday dismissed the report as “not news”, saying the exchange got a “surprise
visit” from local authorities “a couple of weeks ago”. This type of
“on-site inspections of regulated businesses are the norm for banks, and now
for crypto too,” Zhao wrote. The CEO added that other
unnamed ‘well known’ crypto
firms in Paris were also inspected. He pledged that Binance France remains the
company’s ‘flagship
centre in Europe’.

In a separate
tweet, Binance said that it “had an on-site visit last week by the
relevant authorities,” but “will not comment on the specifics of law
enforcement or regulatory investigations.”

“Binance,
as always, was fully collaborative and we met our obligations accordingly,” Binance stated. “We continue to work closely with regulators and law enforcement agencies
on all ongoing compliance requirements to uphold high standards.”

Binance Faces Setback in Europe

Meanwhile,
Binance, which recently marked its seventh license in the European Union area,
suffered a blow in its expansion efforts on the continent. On Friday, the exchange
announced its exit from the
Netherlands after
failing to secure a virtual asset service provider license. The exchange has
also applied to cancel its
Cypriot license, saying it wants to focus its efforts on its “fewer regulated entities
in the EU.”





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