By The Financial District
Binance Served Crypto Traders In Iran Despite Sanctions
Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, continued to process deals from Iranian clients despite US sanctions and a company restriction on doing business there, a Reuters investigation has found, Tom Wilson and Angus Berwick reported.
Photo Insert: Binance said in a March blog post that it "strictly follows international sanction rules" and had assembled a "global compliance task force, including world-renowned sanctions and law enforcement experts."
In 2018, the United States reimposed sanctions that had been suspended three years earlier as part of Iran's nuclear accord with major international powers. Binance warned Iranian merchants in November that it would no longer serve them and advised them to delete their accounts.
However, seven traders told Reuters that they avoided the prohibition.
The traders claimed they used their Binance accounts until September 2021, only losing access after the exchange intensified its anti-money laundering checks a month earlier. Customers could previously trade by registering with only an email address.
"There were some alternatives, but none of them were as good as Binance," said Asal Alizade, a trader in Tehran who said she used the exchange for two years until September 2021. "It didn't need identity verification, so we all used it."
Eleven other Iranians, in addition to those interviewed by Reuters, stated on their LinkedIn pages that they, too, traded cryptocurrency at Binance following the 2018 ban. The popularity of the exchange in Iran was well known within the corporation.
According to ten messages to one another in 2019 and 2020 that are being disclosed for the first time, showed that senior staff were aware of, and joked about, the exchange's expanding ranks of Iranian users. "IRAN BOYS," one of them wrote in response to data indicating Binance's popularity on Instagram in that country.
Binance said in a March blog post that it "strictly follows international sanction rules" and had assembled a "global compliance task force, including world-renowned sanctions and law enforcement experts."
Binance said it used "banking grade tools" to prevent sanctioned people or entities from using its platform.
Binance also claims to have no single headquarters and that its parent company is situated in the Cayman Islands. It provides no information regarding the entity behind its primary Binance.com exchange, which does not accept consumers from the United States.
Instead, US consumers are sent to a secondary exchange named Binance.US, which is ultimately managed by Binance founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao, according to a 2020 regulatory filing.
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