• By The Financial District

Binance Aided Iran Firms Trade $8-B Despite Sanctions

Crypto giant Binance has processed Iranian transactions with a value of $8 billion since 2018 despite US sanctions intended to cut Iran off from the global financial system, blockchain data show, Angus Berwick and Tom Wilson reported for Reuters.


Photo Insert: The transactions put the company at risk of falling afoul of US prohibitions on doing business with Iran, lawyers and trade-sanctions experts said.



Almost all the funds, some $7.8 billion, flowed between Binance and Iran's largest crypto exchange, Nobitex, according to a review of data from leading US blockchain researcher Chainalysis. Nobitex offers guidance on its website on how to skirt sanctions.


Three-quarters of the Iranian funds that passed through Binance were in a relatively low-profile cryptocurrency called Tron that gives users an option to conceal their identities. In a blog post last year, Nobitex encouraged clients to use Tron - a mid-tier token - to trade anonymously without "endangering assets due to sanctions."



The scale of Binance's Iranian crypto flows – and the fact that they are continuing – has not been previously reported. The new findings come as the US Justice Department is pursuing an investigation into possible violations of money-laundering rules by Binance, which dominates the $1 trillion crypto industry, with over 120 million users.


The transactions put the company at risk of falling afoul of US prohibitions on doing business with Iran, lawyers and trade-sanctions experts said.


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In July, Reuters revealed that Binance continued to serve clients in Iran and that the exchange's popularity in the Islamic republic was known inside the company. It was one of a series of Reuters investigations into Binance's troubled history with financial regulatory compliance.


The day of that article's publication, Binance said in a blog post that it follows international sanctions rules on Iran and blocks access to the platform to anyone based there.


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The exchange's billionaire founder, Changpeng Zhao, tweeted: "Binance banned Iranian users after sanctions, 7 got missed/found a workaround, they were banned later anyways."



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