Binance needs clarity on crypto sanctions against Russia, says exec

abdelaziz Fathi

Binance’s newly appointed sanctions executive said the exchange needs more clarity over the recent sanctions targeting Russian users.

Binance

“We do obviously follow all the EU sanctions, but there is room for improvement when it comes to clarity. We are trying to follow sanctions as they are. The challenge is not overdoing, doing what you’ve been told. The regulation has to be clear,” Chagri Poyraz, told Cointelegraph in an interview.

In his current position, Poyraz is responsible for ensuring Binance meets full sanctions compliance globally and building control frameworks similar to traditional banks. However, the executive emphasized that the current uncertainty around EU sanctions against Russia is not just Binance’s problem but is an “industry problem.”

Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Binance blocked the accounts of Russian individuals who have been sanctioned, but it did not unilaterally freeze the accounts of all Russian users.

Most crypto exchanges, including Binance, initially rejected calls for a blanket ban on all Russian users to stop their platforms from being used as a way round Western sanctions. Ultimately, however, they had to comply with sanctions as the US and European regulators said that diverging from mainstream finance would weaken their attempts to isolate Moscow.

Earlier this month, the EU tightened an already prohibition on providing digital-asset services to Russia. It has imposed a sweeping ban on providing crypto services to Russians, meaning they won’t be able to hold any assets in EU crypto wallets unless they live in the bloc.

The prohibition forms part of the eighth package of restrictive measures announced by the EU against Russia as it seeks to respond to “sham” independence votes being held in Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine.

This package’s other financial restrictions include a price cap on Russian oil, a ban on exporting aviation items and electronic components and restrictions on importing Russian goods that would deprive the country of seven billion euros.

Before the recent rules, European crypto providers were allowed to provide Russian residents and entities with limited crypto payments of up to 10,000 euros ($9,900).

Kraken, Localbitcoins, Blockchain.com, and Crypto.com and many others sent out notices informing customers that due to the EU sanctions, they are unable to provide their services to Russian nationals.

Each platform asked affected users to withdraw their funds by the end of October, after which date their accounts will be blocked. However, some exchanges made an exception for users that hold a passport issued by a country from the European Economic Area and those who have a permanent residence permit in these jurisdictions.

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