In the midst of a series of challenges, Binance, a leading global cryptocurrency exchange, finds itself embroiled in a heated controversy in France. The allegations revolve around significant lapses in their money laundering protocols and the unauthorized provision of digital asset services to French customers.
Unlawful Operations and Aggravated Money Laundering
The allegations against Binance can be categorized into two primary charges. Firstly, the company is accused of unlawfully operating as a digital asset service provider. Secondly, it faces more severe accusations of 'aggravated money laundering.'
The latter encompasses various illicit activities such as competition with investments, concealment, and conversion, wherein the offenders have reaped substantial profits.
It is worth noting that Binance is currently registered as a digital asset service provider (PSAN) with the French financial watchdog.
Binance's Expanding Legal Troubles
These latest allegations only add to the growing list of legal challenges faced by Binance. The company is already entangled in a lawsuit filed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which alleges that Binance failed to register as a trading platform and sold unregistered securities.
According to French news, Binance is suspected of having solicited French customers outside the legal framework through its local arm until 2022.
In February 2022, an investigation conducted by the Specialized Interregional Jurisdiction of Paris (JIRS) prompted the matter to be referred to SEJF, the government's anti-financial crime wing. The Paris public prosecutor has confirmed this, indicating an exhaustive investigation that may require considerable time to conclude. The documentary and computer evidence collected during the search will undergo a comprehensive analysis.
Binance's Setback in Europe
In other news, Binance recently made headlines by announcing its departure from the Netherlands after failing to obtain a license that would demonstrate compliance with the country's anti-money laundering guidelines. A representative from Binance, which had been operating in the Netherlands without regulatory approval, expressed disappointment and revealed that the company had explored alternative strategies to meet the Dutch registration requirements.
The representative stated:
While Binance is disappointed that this step has become necessary, we remain committed to engaging with Dutch regulators in a productive and transparent manner.
Prior to this development, the Netherlands' Central Bank (DNB), responsible for registering financial service providers, had cautioned Binance about operating without proper registration in the country.
The company confirmed on Friday that it has successfully obtained registration in several other European Union nations. Including France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Sweden, and Lithuania, and will continue its operations in these countries.