Last year, an FSB-affiliated financial regulator requested Binance to provide over user data tied to Alexei Navalny, an opposition politician.
According to a Reuters investigation, Binance allegedly provided Russian financial authorities with the identities and addresses of Binance employees who were related to Alexei Navalny’s transactions.
The biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world has been revealed to have sent user data to the Russian authorities, according to evidence.
There is evidence that Binance provided Russian authorities with information on its customers so that they could trace Bitcoin tied to Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader who was arrested for spearheading an anti-government movement. Russia’s financial intelligence agency reportedly met with Binance’s regional chief in Moscow in April 2021, according to reports.
When Russia’s financial intelligence unit called Rosfinmonitorign (Rosfin) approached Binance, it’s head of Eastern Europe and Russia, Gleb Kostarev, for client data, including names and addresses, they wanted to track the millions of dollars of Bitcoin that the imprisoned Navalny had raised, according to a report. According to reports, Binance’s Kostarev has agreed to the terms of the agreement.
The Federal Security Service (FSB) is the successor agency of the KGB, where Vladimir Putin started his career, and Rosfinmonitoring works as an arm of the FSB.
In a statement, Navalny claimed the money was gathered to assist his organisation to expose the corruption of President Putin’s regime, and cryptocurrency contributions through Binance have long been promoted by the opposition so that its adherents’ names would not be known to Russian authorities. Navalny’s network has been labelled a terrorist group by Rosfin.
At the time, Kostarev told a business partner that he had no option but to comply with the Russian government’s demands. Despite admitting to “actively seeking compliance in Russia” before Russia’s armed invasion of Ukraine, Binance claimed that Russian authorities had not approached it regarding Navalny. Regulators and law enforcement agencies may require Binance to comply with “reasonable demands,” according to the company.
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Binance claims it has ceased to actively establish relationships with the Russian government. Many big crypto exchanges have refused to ban regular Russian people from utilising their platforms, but Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has decided to restrict its services to a select group of Russian customers because of EU sanctions.