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

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 the ‘illegal’ provision of crypto services before it was licensed
in May last year, CoinDesk reported. The exchange is also being probed for ‘acts of
aggravated money laundering’, the outlet said, citing the French city’s public
prosecutor’s office.

The local
French daily newspaper, Le Monde, reported receiving the same information from the
prosecutor’s office. The outlet said Binance is suspected of having offered digital
asset services in the country since 2020. In addition, the exchange is being scrutinized over the likelihood that it engaged in the crypto promotion
before it was registered.

The French
anti-financial crime agency, the Financial Judicial Investigation Service,
started investigating Binance in February 2022, having been directed by a specialized
court, JIRS Paris, the publication reported.

Binance Says Inspection ‘The Norm’

The
revelation about Binance France comes at a time the world’s largest
cryptocurrency exchangeis battling a lawsuit from the US Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC) which alleged that the exchange offered unregistered
securities on its illegal trading platform. The 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 had dismissed the report as “not news,” saying the exchange recevied a “surprise
visit” from the 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,” the exchange 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 obtained 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. Furthermore, the exchange has applied to cancel its
Cypriot license, saying it wants to focus its efforts on its “fewer regulated entities
in the EU.”

This article was written by Solomon Oladipupo at www.financemagnates.com.

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