Crypto exchange Binance has shared information with German police about suspected accomplices of the Islamist attacker

Crypto exchange Binance has shared information with German police about suspected accomplices of the Islamist attacker

Representations of the cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Ethereum, DogeCoin, Ripple and Litecoin are seen in front of a Binance logo displayed in this illustration taken June 28, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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LONDON, Feb 3 (Reuters) – Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has shared information with German police about two clients suspected of aiding an Islamist gunman who killed four people in Vienna in 2020, officials said company legal.

In May and June of last year, Binance provided Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) with “as much information as it was able to do given the limitations of the information held on file”, the legal representatives said in an emailed letter to Reuters.

Reuters reported on Jan. 21 that German police wrote to Binance last year saying there were indications the two suspects had bought or sold cryptocurrency on the exchange, the world’s largest by volume. of transactions. The police asked Binance to provide data related to the suspects, including all digital currency transactions. Binance did not comment on the January 21 Reuters article, nor did the BKA. Read more

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After Reuters published its story, Binance’s legal representatives said the exchange responded to the BKA’s request on May 18, 2021, the day it was received, “providing a link to the requested information and the word of pass which accompanies it”.

Binance legal representatives said the BKA requested additional information on June 7. This time, Binance’s compliance team responded by noting that the exchange “did not hold all of the requested information regarding escrow deposits that were processed by providers.” Fiat refers to traditional currencies such as the dollar. A Binance spokesperson declined to comment on which providers it was.

On June 22, the BKA requested the information held by Binance, the company’s legal representatives said. Binance provided as much information as possible. “Our client’s team also informed the BKA that going forward, they have developed their internal systems to track escrow deposits,” Binance legal representatives said. Binance’s spokesperson said that the information sent to the BKA included customers’ fiat deposit and withdrawal history.

In November 2020, Kutjim Fejzulai, a 20-year-old Austrian who also held North Macedonian nationality, opened fire on crowded bars near Vienna’s main synagogue. He was killed by Austrian police within minutes. The Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a statement released in July last year, Germany’s Federal Attorney General said the two men who used Binance were suspected of knowing about the attacks in advance and failing to report them to the police.

The Reuters investigation also found that, according to regulatory filings and people with direct knowledge, Binance hid information about its finances and corporate structure from regulators, even as CEO Changpeng Zhao went public. welcomed regulatory oversight. Binance also maintained weak controls over customers, despite concerns raised by senior company officials, and acted against recommendations from its own compliance department, according to internal records and messages.

In response to Reuters questions for the Jan. 21 article, Binance said it has “one of the most sophisticated approaches” to applying anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing “in the industry. finance, not to mention the blockchain industry”. Binance said it helps strengthen industry standards and called Reuters reports “extremely outdated”.

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Reporting by Tom Wilson and Angus Berwick; edited by Janet McBride

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.