Brazil investigating Binance over illegal derivatives offerings
Customer service agents allegedly told users how to circumvent restrictions.
Officials in Brazil are investigating crypto exchange Binance and its employees over a supposed financial crime, Valor Econômico said April 18.
Brazil’s Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM) believes that Binance may have engaged in illegal activity by offering crypto derivatives to customers — even though the government issued a stop order to the company in 2020.
Binance complied with that order to the regulator’s satisfaction by suspending futures trading in 2021. However, recent findings suggest that Binance did not in fact fully comply. Screenshots reportedly show that customers in Brazil can change the language of Binance’s website in order to access features that are otherwise restricted.
This workaround was acknowledged by Binance itself. One support agent wrote: “The futures platform is not available in PT-BR [Portuguese-Brazil]. You can change the language.” Such advice is illegal in Brazil.
A legal expert quoted by Valor suggested that Binance itself is not necessarily responsible for its employees’ actions. Instead, authorities could charge the customer service agent responsible, who will face six months to two years in prison if convicted.
Binance told Valor that it does not comment on existing investigations and asserted that it does not offer derivatives in Brazil.
Brazil’s accusations resemble those in a separate case in the U.S., where the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has accused Binance of helping customers circumvent geographic restrictions through the use of VPNs.