Dutch central bank claims Binance is operating illegally

August 19, 2021

De Nederlandsche Bank, the central bank of the Netherlands, issued a warning to Binance Holdings Limited and its entities offering crypto services to local residents.

In a Wednesday statement, De Nederlandsche Bank said the major crypto exchange was not operating in compliance with the country’s Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Act, alleging that Binance customers were at risk of “becoming involved in money laundering or terrorist financing.” According to the central bank, Binance is illegally offering crypto services as well as custodian wallets without the required legal registration.

The Dutch central bank specified that its notice was to the crypto exchange’s parent company Binance Holdings Limited as well as entities “under which Binance provides crypto services in the Netherlands.” This would seemingly apply to the global crypto exchange as well.

In a statement to Cointelegraph, a Binance spokesperson said the crypto exchange “is in the process of submitting an application for the required registration” and “will be working constructively” with the central bank to meet its requirements.

“It is key to Binance that our users’ interests continue to be protected,” said the spokesperson. “Although we are not formally registered with [De Nederlandsche Bank] yet, we have a robust compliance program that incorporates tools and procedures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.”

Related: Dutch regulators unsure of number of crypto investors in Netherlands

The warning comes following financial watchdogs in different countries saying Binance Holdings Limited is not authorized to provide certain services to their residents. Authorities in Italy, Malaysia, Poland, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Cayman Islands, Thailand, Canada, Japan and Singapore have issued statements warning investors to exercise caution in regards to Binance, or claiming the exchange was operating illegally.

In a Tuesday Bloomberg interview, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said most of his attention was focused on ensuring that the exchange was in compliance with local regulators in its move to be a financial institution rather than “the day-to-day operations of the exchange.” Zhao has previously hinted he would be willing to accept “a senior person with a strong compliance background” to eventually replace him as CEO.

“We’re going through a pivot from a technology innovator into a financial services company so we need to be fully compliant,” said Zhao. “I believe right now all the regulators around the world view crypto as financial instruments.”

He added:

“We need to apply for licenses and it’s very important for us to communicate with the regulators’ request for regular meetings where we proactively update them on what we do.”

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