Binance is under investigation in France for “aggravated money laundering”, it has been reported in Le Monde today.
The publication says that the crypto exchange has been under “preliminary investigation” by the financial judicial investigation service under the direction of authorities in Paris since February last year.
Investigators are alleging “illegal exercise of the function of service provider on digital assets (PSAN), and on the other hand facts of aggravated laundering, by competition with investment operations, concealment, conversion, the latter being carried out by perpetrators of offences who have generated profits,” Le Monde report.
UPDATE: A Binance spokesperson has spoken to CoinDesk and said: “In France, on-site visits by regulators and inspectors are part of regulatory obligations to which all financial institutions must adhere… 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.
“Binance invests considerable time and resources into cooperating with law enforcement globally. We abide by all laws in France, just as we do in every other market we operate. 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,” said the spokesperson.
The news is the latest in a string of regulatory hits to the crypto exchange. Earlier today, it was confirmed that Binance has terminated services in the Netherlands with “immediate effect” after failing to secure a virtual asset service provider (VASP) license.
The exchange is also under investigation by the SEC in the US, along with its founder Changpeng CZ Zhao. According to the SEC’s chair Gary Gensler: “Through thirteen charges, we allege that Zhao and Binance entities engaged in an extensive web of deception, conflicts of interest, lack of disclosure, and calculated evasion of the law.”
Fun times ahead…