SEC files criminal complaints against Binance for operating without a license in Thailand

SEC has filed criminal complaints against Binance for offering services to Thai investors without a license.
This follows recent regulatory crackdowns against the exchange by several regulatory bodies in cases related to money laundering and unlicensed operations.

Binance has recently become the subject of numerous probes by regulatory bodies in cases related to money laundering, tax evasion, and unlicensed operations. Just days after the UK’s Financial Conduct Agency (FCA) served the exchange with a consumer warning notice, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has also filed a criminal complaint against Binance for operating without a license in Thailand. 

Binance provides trading and exchange services via its website by:

Matching orders or arranging for the counterparties or providing the system or facilitating entry into an agreement or match the order for persons who wish to trade or exchange digital assets.

Investigation discloses that Binance solicits the Thai public and investors through a Facebook page called Binance Thai Community, to use its services while it has no license to operate. In doing so, Binance has violated or failed to comply with section 26 of the laws of the SEC, making them liable to criminal sanctions under Section 66 of the Digital Asset Businesses Emergency Decree. Violators of these sections are subjected to two to five years of prison terms, and a 200,000 to 500,000 Thai Baht ($6220 to $15,550) fine. Daily fines of not more than 10,000 Baht ($311) are also imposed, during which the contravention continues. 

According to the document, SEC filed a warning letter to Binance on 5 April 2021 demanding a written response. However, the response was not received within the specified time. 

Binance is being probed by international regulators

Filing a criminal complaint is explained as the beginning of the criminal procedure. Inquiry officials will then investigate the case before asking the public attorney to take over. 

The SEC would like to emphasize that digital asset businesses are regulated under the Digital Asset Business Emergency Decree. Only providers who have obtained relevant licenses under the law are allowed to provide services related to digital asset trading, exchange, depository, transfer, withdrawal, or any transactions related to digital assets. Violators may be liable to penalties under the law.

Just recently, Japan’s Financial Service Agency (FSA) joined the UK to warn the public that Binance is operating without a license. As it stands, Binance, along with Gemini Trust Co. LLC and Hong Kong-based are looking forward to obtaining a license to legitimize their operation in Singapore.

This followed a statement by the Singapore financial regulatory body that they are looking into the operations of the exchange following the recent action taken by international regulatory authorities. For now, Singapore’s Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has authorized Binance to continue its operation as it reviews its application. According to MAS, the application review will be subjected to high standards. 

The exchange has currently ceased its operation in Ontario, Canada after the Canadian Securities Administrators issued a warning to crypto trading firms to register with the Ontario Securities Commission by April 21. 

On Thursday, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) also announced that Binance, the Binance Group, and Binance Holdings are not “registered, regulated, licensed, or otherwise authorize” to operate a cryptocurrency exchange from or within the Cayman Islands. 


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