December 3, 2023

LONDON (Reuters) – A French member of the European Parliament (MEP) has urged the French market regulator to review its decision to register cryptocurrency exchange Binance, citing a recent Reuters investigation into money laundering on the platform.

In a letter dated June 13, Aurore Lalucq, who is also a member of the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, asked the AMF regulator to justify its “incomprehensible” decision to register the Binance unit as a digital asset service provider.

As a basis for her concerns, Lalock cited a statement from the British financial regulator last year that said Binance was “not able to effectively supervise,” and a Reuters report, published in June, which found Binance to be a conduit for money laundering. At least $2.35 billion in illicit funds. Read more

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Binance said at the time that it did not consider Reuters accounts to be accurate and that it was building “the most advanced cyber forensics team on the planet.”

Asked about the letter, Lalock told Reuters that the cryptocurrency sector needs more regulation to prevent it from being used in “criminal practices.” She said the AMF responded to her immediately, but did not explain how she did so. The IMF declined to comment. Binance did not respond to requests for comment.

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, in May hailed the French registration as a “outstanding achievement,” saying it was the first company to offer digital asset services in Europe. Binance said it wants to open a regional headquarters in France.

Since Binance launched in 2017 in Shanghai, more than a dozen financial regulators have issued warnings about the crypto giant, ranging from anti-money laundering compliance and consumer risk to how it operates without a license.

A Reuters article in January found that Binance withheld information from regulators while saying it welcomed oversight. In response, Binance said it is pushing industry standards higher.

In her letter to the head of the AMF, Lalock asked about Binance’s acceptance criteria and whether its registration could be withdrawn “in the event of serious and proven violations.” The Financial Times earlier reported her letter.

Lalock noted that many other regulators have refused to give any registration or approval to Binance. She said the Arab Monetary Fund’s decision gave Binance a “guarantee of respect”.

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Additional reporting by Mathieu Rosemin in Paris. Editing by Emilia Sithole Mataris

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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