Binance faces barriers in reestablishing UK presence: Bloomberg

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Global crypto exchange Binance is having a hard time finding new partners to reenter the United Kingdom, according to a Bloomberg report citing people familiar with the matter.

Binance must have an authorized approver to come back to the U.K. market, as per local regulations. The approver is permitted by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to authorize financial promotions, ensuring its compliance with FCA rules before being made public.

In recent months, Binance has been turned away by at least three firms with this regulatory permission, Bloomberg’s sources said. The exchange lost its U.K. partner in October after the FCA imposed restrictions on its then-approver, Rebuildingsociety.com (REBS).

The FCA prohibited REBS from promoting Binance goods and services, forcing the exchange to halt new user onboarding and find a new approver. The FCA has also expressed its concern about new businesses considering partnering with Binance, driving companies away from a deal with the crypto exchange.

In a statement, Binance denied facing challenges in finding a new partner. “It is not accurate to say that we have been rebuffed by section 21 approvers in the U.K.,” the exchange told Bloomberg. “We continue to have productive conversations with potential approvers and are confident that we will be able to provide a positive update soon.”

Binance officially canceled its registration with the FCA through its subsidiary, Binance Markets Limited, in May 2023. This termination followed the exchange’s decision to cancel regulatory permissions for activities it never offered in the United Kingdom. As a result, no Binance entity is authorized by the FCA to provide any services in the country.

The challenges in the U.K. could stem from the exchange’s legal troubles overseas. In June 2023, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit against Binance and its former CEO, Changpeng Zhao, claiming it offered unregistered securities in the country and engaged in wash trading, among several other allegations.

Zhao pleaded guilty to violating U.S. Anti-Money Laundering requirements and agreed to step down as CEO of the exchange last November as part of a $4.3-billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice. His sentencing is scheduled for late February.

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