June 21, 2023: Days before French police visited Binance’s Paris office, the crypto exchange’s leading French executive dismissed concerns about U.S. regulatory charges affecting Binance’s other operations, which compares them with fluttering a butterfly’s wings.
French prosecutors have opened a probe into “aggravated money laundering” by the crypto exchange, Le Monde reported on Friday and further stated that the company was also being investigated over operating an unauthorized business.
Before the raid happened, it was asked Binance France President David Prinçay if he was concerned regarding charges from the top two U.S. financial regulators against the exchange.
“I don’t care what happened in the U.S.,” Prinçay retorted at the Proof of Talk conference in Paris. “We are in Europe, with a French regulator, a European regulator.”
Prinçay insisted Binance.US assets were separated from the international exchange, an assertion also made by the exchange’s legal team. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which charged Binance the previous week with 13 securities charges, disagrees, arguing that Binance user funds are at “significant risk” of flight due to founder Changpeng Zhao’s alleged ownership of an interlocking set of Binance-related companies.
Binance France’s chief called the U.S. allegations of commingling a “car crash.”
“The only concern I have right now is that we look too much at the car crash and not drive,” Prinçay said.
Binance’s founder, Zhao, overlooked the police statement and reporting as “FUD,” claiming it was a “surprise on-site” inspection that was “the norm.”
“We will not remark on the specifics of law enforcement or regulatory investigations except to say that information about our users is held securely and only provided to government officials upon receipt of documented appropriate justification,” the exchange said in another statement.
Binance faces over a dozen charges from the SEC and a similar slate of allegations from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. According to an SEC objection, a reported Department of Justice probe also continues into the exchange.