(Seychelles News Agency) – The Financial Intelligence Unity (FIU) in Seychelles has clarified that the company Binance – the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange – does not conduct any exchange activity in Seychelles, even though the company has an office in the island nation.
The director of the FIU, Richard Rampal, made this statement after India‘s FIU announced the cutoff of access to web platforms of crypto wallets, including Binance, for Indian users. Additionally, the apps were removed from the Google Play Store.
A report in the Indian newspaper Economic Times highlighted that access to the websites of major global cryptocurrency exchanges and virtual digital asset service providers like Binance, Kucoin, OKX, and others, was blocked in India last January 12.
On December 28, 2023, show cause notices were issued to several companies, including Binance, for operating illegally in India. These notices were sent to Binance, Kucoin, Bittrex, Bitstamp, MEXC Global, Houbi, Kraken, gate.io, and Bitfinex due to non-compliance with registration and local tax rules. Consequently, the Indian Finance Ministry directed the Ministry of Information Technology to block their URLs.
Although Binance has an office in Seychelles, it was clarified that no cryptocurrency operations are conducted by the company in Seychelles.
Rampal explained, “Binance has various offices across the world, and here in Seychelles, they have what is a research centre, but no cryptocurrency activities are done here by them.”
Binance is a global company operating the largest cryptocurrency exchange in terms of daily trading volume. In 2021, it faced investigations by the United States Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service for alleged money laundering and tax offences. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority ordered Binance to cease all regulated activity in the United Kingdom in June 2021. On November 21, 2023, Binance pleaded guilty to federal charges, admitting to money laundering, unlicensed money transmitting, and sanctions violations, agreeing to pay over $4 billion in fines.
Seychelles has registered several virtual asset service providers (VASPs), and the country is in the process of introducing a new law to regulate the operations of such companies in Seychelles.
The National Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Committee (NAC) recently revealed that it is in the consultation phase for the proposed framework for the law, expected to be in place by March this year.
VASPs are businesses facilitating the exchange of virtual assets, including cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, non-fungible tokens, or utility tokens like Filecoin.