Embattled cryptocurrency exchange Binance is reportedly the target of a money laundering probe in France.
According to multiple published reports Friday (June 16), including one by Reuters, the crypto giant is being investigated by the Paris prosecutor’s office for “aggravated” money laundering and illegally operating as a digital asset provider.
Binance confirmed the investigation on its Twitter page.
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. Binance, as always, was fully collaborative and we met our…
— Binance (@binance) June 16, 2023
“We had an on-site visit last week by the relevant authorities,” the company said in the tweet. “Binance, as always, was fully collaborative, and we met our obligations accordingly. We continue to work closely with regulators and law enforcement agencies on all ongoing compliance requirements to uphold high standards.”
In France, surprise (no advanced notice) on-site inspections of regulated businesses are the norm, for banks, and now for crypto too.
The surprise visit for Binance France happened a couple of weeks ago. It’s not “news”. Binance France cooperated fully.
Binance also… https://t.co/xdbLc5jXBW
— CZ 🔶 Binance (@cz_binance) June 16, 2023
It also came the same day that the company announced it is leaving the Netherlands after failing to get a license from the country’s central bank.
“Binance has been in a comprehensive registration application process as a virtual asset service provider (VASP) with the Dutch regulator,” the company said on its website. “Although we explored many alternative avenues to service Dutch residents in compliance with Dutch regulations, unfortunately this has not resulted in a VASP registration in the Netherlands at this time. Binance will continue striving to obtain authorizations to provide our products and services to users in the Netherlands.”
Last month, the company pulled out of Canada, saying that country’s “new guidance related to stablecoins and investor limits provided to crypto exchanges makes the Canada market no longer tenable for Binance at this time.”
The SEC filed 13 charges against Binance and Zhao June 5, accusing the exchange of a range of securities law violations and saying it “engaged in an extensive web of deception.”
Binance responded by saying its assets are “safe and secure,” that the SEC has refused to offer guidance and clarity to the digital asset industry, and that “regulation by enforcement” is not the way to create an effective regulatory framework.