The list of countries investigating the crypto exchange giant Binance is growing as regulators in Singapore, Thailand and the Cayman Islands have begun investigating the trading platform.
The past few weeks have seen the exchange come under fire from regulators in the UK, the USA, Japan, and Germany, while earlier this week, British users complained they were having issues using debit cards and fiat on/off ramps in conjunction with the Binance platform, that later confirmed that the problem was solved. Also, the company has stopped offering its services to Ontario-based users.
But the firm’s woes appear to have deepened now after authorities in Singapore indicated they were taking note of developments elsewhere and wanted to follow suit.
Bloomberg quoted the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the nation’s central bank and financial regulator, as stating:
“We are aware of the actions taken by other regulatory authorities against Binance and will follow up as appropriate.”
The MAS also confirmed that Binance Asia Services, a firm based in the country, is one of a group of exchanges that are operating as usual with its blessing during a grace period. The regulator will allow firms in this group to conduct business as usual while it looks into applications for operating permits.
Per a MAS document, Binance Asia Services has registered its interest in “providing digital payment token service,” along with exchange rivals like Gemini and Bitstamp.
Binance confirmed to the media outlet, however, that Binance Asia Services is “a separate legal entity and does not offer any products or services via the Binance.com website or Binance Markets.” Instead, the Singapore-based company, Binance stated, “focuses on growing the local blockchain ecosystem and servicing users” in Singapore.
The exchange stated:
“It is important to note that we take a collaborative approach in working with regulators and we take our compliance obligations very seriously. We are actively keeping abreast of changing policies, rules and laws in this new space.”
The MAS, meanwhile, claimed it was using “robust standards” in its reviewing process, and promised exchanges would be “subject to close scrutiny in the licensing process and ongoing supervision.”
Meanwhile, today, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Thailand, said it has filed a criminal complaint against Binance with the Economic Crime Suppression Division of the Royal Thai Police for operating digital asset business without a license.
The SEC said that, in April, it issued a warning letter requiring the exchange to submit a written response “but Binance failed to submit a response within the specified time.”
“In any case, filing the criminal complaint is merely the commencement of the criminal procedure whereby the inquiry official will perform an investigation before recommending the case to the public attorney who has authority for prosecution,” the Commission added.
Also, in the Caymans, the regulatory Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) has issued Binance with a public warning. Apparently upset that a number of media outlets have stated that Binance is Caymans-based, the CIMA wrote:
“[We] wish to inform the public that Binance, the Binance Group and Binance Holdings Limited are not registered, licensed, regulated or otherwise authorized by the authority to operate a cryptocurrency exchange from or within the Cayman Islands.”
Crypto exchange operators must register with the CIMA under legislation that promulgated last year.
“[CIMA] is currently investigating whether Binance, the Binance Group, Binance Holdings Limited or any other company affiliated with this group of companies has any activities operating in or from within the Cayman Islands which may fall within the scope of [our] regulatory oversight,” the Authority said.
“Binance.com does not run a cryptocurrency exchange out of the Cayman Islands, as reported incorrectly in some media articles. We do, however, have entities incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands performing activities that are permitted by law and not related to operating crypto-exchange trading activities,” a spokesperson for Binance told Cryptonews.com, adding that “Binance.com has always operated in a decentralized manner” and the the company “will work with regulators to address any questions they may have.”
Regulators in the Caymans have come under pressure from economic powers to shed their “tax haven” status. The country was removed from the EU’s blacklist in October last year – and appears keen to ensure it does not make a swift return.
In the US, Binance is reportedly under investigation by the US Justice Department, Internal Revenue Service, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Officially, the federal agencies haven’t accused Binance of wrongdoing.
At 14:53 UTC, binance coin (BNB) is trading at USD 284 and is almost unchanged in a day and down by 8% in a week.
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(Updated at 07:51 UTC with the price of BNB. Updated at 08:55 UTC with a statement from the Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand and the latest market data. Updated 14:74 UTC with a comment from Binance and the latest market data.)
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