PARIS (Reuters) – Crypto-asset exchange Binance is the subject of a preliminary investigation in France for illegal solicitation of customers and aggravated money laundering, the Paris prosecutor’s office said on Friday, confirming press reports. .

“The investigation relates on the one hand to facts of illegal exercise of the function of PSAN [prestataire de services sur actifs numériques, ndlr] (during a given period), and on the other hand aggravated money laundering (…)”, the prosecution told Reuters.

“In France, on-site visits by regulators and inspectors are part of the regulatory obligations that all financial institutions must comply with. We had an on-site visit last week by the competent authorities,” said a spokesperson for Binance.

“We will not comment on the details of investigations by law enforcement or regulatory authorities, but we would like to clarify that information about our users is kept secure and is only released to government authorities upon presentation of a ‘documented and appropriate justification,” he added.

Binance has suffered several setbacks lately, including a lawsuit in early June by the US Financial Markets Authority, which accuses it of circumventing US law.

Earlier on Friday, the company said it was exiting the Dutch market because it had been unable to meet registration requirements to operate as a crypto-asset service provider.

Binance has also requested to be removed from the Cypriot register of cryptocurrency-related service providers.

In May 2022, Binance announced that it was now registered with the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), adding that it wanted to significantly develop its activities in France.

A group of French investors filed a lawsuit against Binance in December, accusing it of misleading the public and promoting its services before it was legally allowed to do so.

(Report Benoit Van Overstraeten and Tom Wilson; Kate Entringer, edited by Blandine Hénault)

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