Binance Faces French Probe over ‘Aggravated’ Money Laundering

Binance’s French Unit Faces Investigation for Illegal Digital Asset Services and Aggravated Money Laundering

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, is now under scrutiny as its French unit is being investigated by local authorities for allegedly providing digital asset services without proper regulatory approval. The Paris public prosecutor’s office confirmed that Binance is suspected of engaging in acts of aggravated money laundering and operating as a digital asset service provider before obtaining regulatory clearance in May 2022, as revealed to CoinDesk.

According to the prosecutor’s office, the investigation focuses on Binance’s involvement in investment operations, concealment, and conversion, all of which resulted in significant profits for the individuals behind the offenses. Binance is registered with the French financial regulator, the AMF (Autorité des Marchés Financiers), as a digital asset service provider known as a PSAN.

This latest investigation adds to Binance’s legal troubles, as the exchange is already facing a lawsuit from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for alleged failure to register as a trading platform and the sale of unregistered securities. Furthermore, Binance’s French unit is suspected of soliciting French customers through its local arm, operating outside the legal framework until 2022, as reported by Le Monde.

The Paris public prosecutor confirmed that the case involving Binance was referred to the SEJF, a government anti-financial crime body, in February 2022. The collected documentary and computer evidence will undergo thorough examination as part of the investigation.

A spokesperson from Binance stated that the company maintains a close collaboration with regulators and law enforcement agencies to ensure compliance with all necessary requirements. Emphasizing their commitment to following the law in France and other markets, the spokesperson emphasized that user information is securely held and disclosed to government officials only with appropriate justification.

Binance’s CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, took to Twitter to acknowledge a recent “surprise visit” by authorities, noting that other unnamed crypto firms had experienced similar situations. Despite the ongoing investigations, France remains a significant hub for Binance in Europe, according to Zhao.

In other news, Binance announced its decision to exit the Netherlands after failing to acquire the required license demonstrating compliance with the country’s anti-money laundering guidelines. Additionally, the exchange applied to terminate its registration with Cyprus’ securities regulator, stating a focus on fewer regulated entities within the European Union.

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial or investment advice. Cryptocurrency investments are subject to market risks, and individuals should seek professional advice before making any investment decisions.

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