British news agency Reuters, founded in 1951, has revealed evidence that the world’s leading crypto exchange platform, Binance, has handed over users’ personal data to the Russian government at their request. Yesterday, Binance denied the allegations on its official website.
In this case, the Russian government wanted to track the bitcoins that Alexei Navalny had collected during a donation campaign, which aimed to help fund the denunciation of corruption of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Alexei Navalny, an outspoken Russian activist and founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, which has been branded a terrorist organization by the authorities, has been jailed for his opposition to the current political regime.
According to Reuters, the Russian anti-money laundering agency Rosfinmonitoring (Rosfin) met with Gleb Kostarev, the head of Binance for Eastern Europe and Russia. Specifically, the newspaper claims that Kostarev “agreed to Rosfin’s request to share customer data” in April 2021. Now, this was when the Russian government was looking to track crypto donations to Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Binance denies the accusations against him
On Friday, April 22, Binance was keen to justify itself by publishing on its website:
“Suggestions that Binance shared user data, including Alexei Navalny, with Russian agencies controlled by the FSB and Russian regulators are categorically false. Binance has not sought to actively assist the Russian state in its attempts to investigate Alexei Navalny.”Binance
Binance goes on to explain that the move initiated last year had no particular purpose. According to the platform, it is only a request for disclosure of information by the authorities, like those of other authorities in the world. In addition, the platform says that no agreement different from what is known elsewhere has been reached with the Russian government.
“Today, any government or law enforcement agency in the world can request user data from Binance, as long as they have the appropriate legal authority. Russia is no different.”Binance
At the same time, the main person concerned, Gleb Kostarev – responsible for Binance in Eastern Europe and Russia – defends himself by calling this affair “an absolute lie”.
If Binance does not dispute the holding of a meeting on the development of the Internet in April 2021 between Kostarev and Rosfin officials – a meeting also organized by the former adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin – the platform supports its version and recalls that no tangible evidence has directly implicated him.
To support its innocence, Binance decided to publish its exchanges with Reuters and announced to file a complaint against the British news agency. It is interesting to note that at the same time Binance limits its services to users residing in Russia.