The cryptocurrency platform Binance would have provided information about its clients to bodies dependent on the Russian government, according to an official report from the news agency Reuters. The company of Chinese origin denied the information.
According to the special report, in April 2021, the head of Binance for Eastern Europe and Russia, Gleb Kostarev, met with the Russian anti-money laundering agency, Rosfinmonitoring (Rosfin), and would have agreed to deliver data of people who operate on the platformin particular of those who donated money to opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
It should be noted that Navalny had raised millions of dollars in bitcoin (XBT), in order to fund efforts to expose alleged corruption in the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin. At the same time, the opponent is part of a list of suspected terrorists compiled by Rosfin.
The report of Reuters It is based on interviews with more than 10 people familiar with Binance operations and messages from Kostarev himself. In one of them, the Binance executive for Eastern Europe would have assured that he had no other alternative than to provide the requested information.
Binance denies the information
hours after Reuters publish the newspaper article, Binance issued a statement in which he states that “they are categorically false” the “suggestions” that the company shared user data, including that of Alexei Navalny, with Russian agencies controlled by the Federal Security Service and with Russian regulators
On the other hand, Binance claims to have joined the sanctions against Russia as soon as the invasion of Ukraine began.
“We also donate time and more than $10 million to the humanitarian effort to help Ukrainians in desperate need.”, indicated the largest crypto platform in the world by trading volume.
In its explanation, Binance assures that “any government or law enforcement agency may request user data, provided it is accompanied by the proper legal authority” and that Russia “is no different”.
By way of conclusion, the statement states that Binance “has not actively sought to assist the Russian state in its attempts to investigate Alexi Navalny”.
It should be noted that since Navalny’s arrest in January 2021, his anti-corruption foundation has publicly encouraged backers to donate through Binance, telling them that this was the safest way to do so because, unlike wire transfers, the authorities would not know the identities of the donors.
More trading volume in Russia?
According to Reuters, Binance trading volumes in Russia reportedly increased since the war in Ukraine startedaccording to “data from a major industry research firm,” since the Russians would have turned to cryptocurrencies to protect their assets from Western sanctions and the devaluation of the ruble.
The report also highlights that the The Russian Ministry of Finance said in early April that it had finished drafting its bill on the regulation of digital currencies and, in that regard, Reuters He said that Binance would have agreed with the Russian agency to establish a local unit from which the authorities can request transaction information.