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Binance Under Investigation in France for ‘Aggravated’ Money Laundering

Binance is suspected of illegally providing digital asset services to local customers, and implementing poor money laundering checks, the Paris public prosecutor told CoinDesk.

According to the Paris public prosecutor’s office and CoinDesk, local authorities are looking into Binance’s French branch for providing “illegal” digital asset services and “acts of aggravated money laundering.”

According to the public prosecutor’s office, the investigation focuses on illegally operating as a provider of digital asset services before receiving regulatory approval in May 2022 and “aggravated money laundering by taking part in investment operations, concealment, and conversion, the latter being carried out by perpetrators of offenses having generated profits,” they told CoinDesk. Binance has registered with the French financial watchdog, the AMF (Autorité des Marchés Financiers), as a PSAN, or digital asset service provider.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has already filed a lawsuit against the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, accusing it of failing to register as a trading platform and of selling unregistered securities. Le Monde reported earlier on Friday that the French unit is suspected of have surveyed French customers through its local affiliate outside the law until 2022.

The Paris public prosecutor confirmed to CoinDesk that an investigation concerning Binance by the specialized interregional jurisdiction of Paris led to a referral to the SEJF, an anti-financial crime arm of the government, in February 2022. “The documentary and computer elements collected during the search will now have to be the subject of an in-depth study,” the prosecutor said.

“We continue to work closely with regulators and law enforcement agencies on all ongoing compliance requirements to uphold high standards,” a Binance spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “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.”

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