- Binance has rejected charges made in a Reuters article that the cryptocurrency exchange shared Russian user data with FSB agencies and authorities.
- According to Reuters, Russia’s Rosfin agency was trying to track down millions of dollars in Bitcoin raised by imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
- Binance suspended operations in Russia and complied with restrictions as soon as the war in Ukraine began, according to CZ.
- Any government or law enforcement agency in the globe can seek data from Binance as long as they follow the correct legal procedures.
During Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, crypto exchanges were yet again in the forefront. Reuters reported that Binance would freeze Russian client accounts affected by sanctions, but not all accounts, in response to demand from the Ukrainian government to seize all Russian crypto accounts.
Despite the fact that Binance was not alone in its stance on account freezes, the exchange has recently dominated the news due to its global popularity.
The Russian money laundering agency, Rosfin, was “trying to trace millions of dollars in bitcoin raised by jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny,” according to a Reuters article .
“Any claims that Binance shared any user data, including Alexei Navalny’s, with Russian FSB-controlled institutions and Russian authorities are totally incorrect,” Binance said in a statement. “Binance’s activity in Russia prior to the conflict was no different than that of any other international organisation—from banks to burger joints.”
Russian intelligence was reportedly attempting to trace Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s Bitcoins (BTC) worth millions of dollars, according to Reuters.
Gleb Kostarev, Binance’s head of Eastern Europe and Russia, reportedly agreed to the request, telling a “business associate that he didn’t have much option.”
Binance has stayed open in Russia since the incursion of Ukraine, according to Reuters. This is despite the fact that other payment platforms, such as PayPal, have stopped operating in the country.
Binance acknowledges that it, too, makes mistakes, and that it is up to the media to hold them accountable.
The blog post also explains how the media may be deceiving at times by presenting a false narrative, citing a recent Reuters report that attempted to portray Binance as having close relationships with FSB-controlled agencies and Russian authorities, which was untrue.
Binance does not anticipate consistently positive or even fair news coverage. They do, however, expect it to be factual and fair.
The exchange then goes on to highlight how, in terms of not sharing data, any government or law enforcement agency in the globe can now request user data from Binance as long as they have the right legal permission.
“In fact, we have developed a landing page specifically for this purpose which has been in place for over one year which is used by leading law enforcement agencies from around the world. Russia is no different. Fulfilling disclosure obligations to the authorities in each jurisdiction is a large part of becoming a regulated business and Binance fulfils its legal obligations.”
Binance maintains the right to refuse law enforcement requests from any state, including Russia, if they do not pass legal examination. Any major bank, financial institution, or international corporation would do the same.
Binance has reached out to the Russian government in the same way it has reached out to governments in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific — these are legal engagements aimed at lobbying for proper digital asset legislation.
Binance’ Ceo, @cz binance, also shared the official message, hinting that this is the company’s open rebuttal to a recent incorrect report by Reuters’ negligent journalists.
“There are a lot of details.”
Zao also mentioned how the exchange contributed time and $10 million to a humanitarian effort to aid Ukrainians in need, a move that Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, recognised and praised – in person over Zoom with CZ.
Binance recognises that Reuters is one of the most respected and recognised news organisations, but the publication of an erroneous piece clearly violates the outlet’s long-standing reputation.
“This is not representative of our experience working with countless other journalists in their organisation.”
Binance will file an official complaint against Reuters, as specified in their Editorial Code:
- Reflecting reality in the sense that it might be tempting for journalists to “hype” or sensationalise material, distorting the actuality of the event or prompting the reader or viewer to make incorrect conclusions and perceptions that can be damaging;
- The right to be free of bias means that Reuters must constantly endeavour to be fair and balanced. Charges should not be given as an indication of guilt; allegations should not be presented as truth. They owe it to the subjects of such stories to provide them an opportunity to present their case.
Zao encourages the community to read the piece, which includes email exchanges with the journalists, and form their own opinions.