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Binance denies helping Russia trace crypto donations to Navalny

Binance denies helping Russia trace crypto donations to Navalny

Last updated 29th Jun 2022
Disclosure
  • Binance executive "consented to Rosfin's request to share client data"
  • Rosfin was trying to track crypto donations to the organizations of Russia's opposition leader

Binance, the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world by trading volume, denied allegations by Reuters of helping the Russian government track down donations to Alexei Navalny, the country’s most notable opposition leader, CoinDesk reported.

Binance’s head of Eastern Europe and Russia Gleb Kostarev met with representatives of Rosfin, Russia's anti-money laundering agency, in April last year. Reuters reports that Kostarev "consented to Rosfin's request to agree to share client data."

Rosfin was looking to track crypto donations

At that time, Rosfin was trying to track crypto donations to the organizations of Russia's opposition leader according to Reuters. Navalny raised millions in donations. After the attempt to assassinate him and his subsequent arrest, there was a surge of new funds.

Yesterday, the exchange officially announced:

Suggestions that Binance shared any user data, including Alexei Navalny’s, with Russian FSB-controlled agencies and Russian regulators are categorically false. Binance has not sought to actively assist the Russian state in its attempts to investigate Alexei Navalny.

Today, any government or law enforcement agency in the world can request user data from Binance as long as it is accompanied by the proper legal authority. Russia is no different. Binance has not entered into any form of agreement with the Russian government that differs from any other jurisdiction – these obligations are ordinary and any traditional bank for example would be subject to the same requirements.

Binance added they would write a formal complaint to Reuters.

Russian secret agents tried to poison Navalny in 2019

Rosfin is closely linked to Russia’s FSB (Federal Security Service), the successor of the KGB. An investigation found FSB agents tried to poison Navalny with a nerve agent in the fall of 2019.

At the moment, Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation is under investigation for stealing donations, which it denies. Navalny is serving a sentence for a number of charges, but his supporters believe his dissention from the regime is the real and only reason.

According to Amnesty International:

Navalny has not been imprisoned for any recognizable crime, but for demanding the right to equal participation in public life for himself and his supporters, and for demanding a government that is free from corruption.

No direct evidence

According to Russian crypto market insiders, Binance may have cooperated with Rosfin, although they have no direct evidence of this. Obviously, any business working on the Russian market would have to respond to requests from a government agency.

Daniela Kirova

Daniela Kirova

Daniela is a writer at Bankless Times, covering the latest news on the cryptocurrency market and blockchain industry. She has over 15 years of experience as a writer, having ghostwritten for several online publications in the financial sector.