Binance Restricts Over 200 Nigerian Accounts Amid Money Laundering Requirements

Crypto exchange Binance has restricted a total of 281 personal accounts belonging to Nigerian users, per Reuters

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) reportedly told these customers in a letter that the decision was made to ensure user safety—but also at the request of international law enforcement authorities. 

“Currently, we have resolved 79 cases and continue to work through others. All non-law enforcement-related cases will be resolved within two weeks,” CZ reportedly said. 

The news comes amid an array of serious regulatory woes for the crypto exchange. 

Earlier this month, Binance’s regulatory shortcomings came to a head

According to a Reuters investigation, CZ “ignored” warnings about the exchange’s weak know-your-customer (KYC) checks, which are designed to be the first line of defense against money laundering and other illicit activity. 

In 2019, a message sent by former Global Money Laundering Reporting Officer Karen Long said that CZ wanted “no kyc.” Binance’s Chief Compliance Officer Samuel Lim also wrote, “Damn why touch fiat if dont wanna be compliant. So ironic LOL. Just say full crypto man. Jizzus,” in a text. 

The Reuters investigation also found that Binance did not help German law enforcement regarding 44 letters enquiring about €2 million (roughly $2.2 million) worth of transactions that were believed to involve stolen and laundered funds. 

Previously, the crypto exchange has raised the ire of regulators worldwide. 

In Holland and Japan, regulators have issued consumer warnings against the exchange. The Cayman Islands and Italy have said Binance is not licensed to do business in their respective countries. 

In Malaysia, regulators took enforcement action against Binance for operating in the jurisdiction illegally. 

In Singapore, Binance announced it was withdrawing an application for a license after regulators placed the company on the city-state’s Investor Alert List. 

UK regulators also issued a consumer warning against the crypto exchange. They doubled down months later, claiming Binance Markets Limited—the exchange’s UK entity—was incapable of being regulated after it failed to provide basic information to the regulator.

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