Binance Said to Be Under Investigation in France for Illegal Canvassing, Money Laundering

Binance Said to Be Under Investigation in France for Illegal Canvassing, Money Laundering

Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange, is under preliminary investigation by the Paris prosecutors office for both illegal canvassing of clients and aggravated money-laundering, French daily Le Monde reported on Friday.

“In France, on-site visits by regulators and inspectors are part of regulatory obligations to which all financial institutions must adhere. We had an on-site visit last week by the relevant authorities,” a Binance spokesperson said.

“We will not comment on the specifics of law enforcement or regulatory investigations except to say that information about our users is held securely and only provided to government officials upon receipt of documented appropriate justification.”

The Paris prosecutors office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The reported investigation follows various setbacks for Binance including a June 5 decision by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to charge the company with evading securities laws. Binance disputes the SEC charges.

Earlier on Friday, the company said it was leaving the Dutch market because it had been unable to meet registration requirements to operate as a virtual asset service provider.

In May last year, Binance said it had registered with France’s market regulator, adding it was seeking to open a regional headquarters in France.

A group of French crypto investors filed a criminal complaint against Binance in December, accusing it of misleading the public and promoting its services before it was legally allowed to do.

It was unclear if it was that complaint that led to the preliminary investigation by Paris prosecutors.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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