By Angus Berwick and Tom Wilson
LONDON, July 5 (Reuters) – A French Member of the European Parliament (MEP) urged France’s market regulator to review its decision to register the Binance cryptocurrency exchange, citing a recent Reuters investigation into money laundering on the platform.
In a June 13 letter, Aurore Lalucq, also a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, asked the AMF regulator to justify its “incomprehensible” decision to register a Binance unit as a digital assets service provider.
As a basis for her concerns, Lalucq cited a statement from Britain’s financial regulator last year which said Binance was “not capable of being effectively supervised”, and the Reuters report, published in June, which found Binance served as a conduit for the laundering of at least $2.35 billion in illicit funds.
Binance said at the time it did not consider Reuters’ calculation to be accurate and it was building “the most sophisticated cyber forensics team on the planet”.
Asked about the letter, Lalucq told Reuters that the crypto sector needed more regulation to prevent it being used for “criminal practices”.She said the AMF promptly replied to her, but did not detail how it did so. The AMF declined to comment. Binance did not respond to requests for comment.
Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, in May hailed the French registration as a “milestone achievement”, saying it was its first to provide digital asset services in Europe.Binance has said it wants to open a regional headquarters in France.
Since Binance’s 2017 launch in Shanghai, over a dozen financial regulators have issued warnings about the crypto giant, ranging from its anti-money laundering compliance and consumer risks to how it was operating without a licence.
A Reuters article in January found Binance withheld information from regulators while saying it welcomed oversight.Binance said in response it was driving industry standards higher.
In her letter to the AMF’s chairman, Lalucq questioned what the criteria for Binance’s acceptance were and whether it was possible to withdraw its registration “in the event of serious and proven breaches”.The Financial Times previously reported her letter.
Lalucq noted that many other regulators had refused to give any registration or approval to Binance. The AMF’s decision had given Binance “a guarantee of respectability”, she said.
(Additional reporting by Mathieu Rosemain in Paris; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)