Binance Still Serving Non-Sanctioned Russians

In the weeks after the European Union rolled out new sanctions on Russia, Binance has continued to offer its services to non-sanctioned Russian nationals.

However, the sanctions executive of the world’s biggest crypto exchange, who has been recently appointed, said that this does not mean that Binance is not complying with the sanctions of the EU.

The sanctions

From day one, Binance has found the sanctions imposed against Russia by Western nations a big challenge.

Chagri Poyraz, the global head of sanctions at Binance, said that the crypto exchange had been making an effort to comply with the sanctions.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine back in February, Binance has blocked a number of territories of Ukraine that are not under the government’s control, which include regions that have been annexed like Luhansk and Donetsk.

Poyraz said that the region was still an active war zone and that Binance was monitoring the situation continuously.

He also added that there were more than 500 compliance executives at Binance employed globally and almost half of them were directly working on sanctions control.

These include name screening, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and other procedures.

Targeted sanctions

It is not just comprehensive sanctions that have to be dealt with, which are usually imposed in connection to a certain region or country.

There are also targeted sanctions that are directed at specific companies, individuals, or activities. Poyraz said that Binance did not have any tolerance for accounts that are blocked under these targeted sanctions.

He also said that the crypto exchange had frozen, or limited the accounts of a number of Russians in accordance with sanctions from various jurisdictions.

A number of targeted sanctions have been imposed by the United States and it has provided lists of sanctioned companies, wallets, individuals and related guidances.

But, the executive further said that sanctions were still a new concept for the crypto industry as a whole. He said that there was not enough guidance, or clarity, particularly where various jurisdictions are concerned.

The difficulties

Poyraz stated that EU sanctions had proven to be extremely difficult and said that better clarity was needed for the crypto industry.

He noted that after the eighth package of sanctions had been rolled out, Binance had had no dialogue with regulators in the EU, even though they included some prominent crypto restrictions.

He added that even though they were following all EU sanctions, there was still a lot of room for improvement in terms of clarity.

He asserted that they were trying to follow the sanctions as is, but it was a challenge because the regulations were not clear.

The executive stated that the problem of clarity associated with EU sanctions was not just applicable to Binance, but to the entire industry.

In the beginning, the sanctions had only imposed a cap on the crypto payments between the EU and Russia of about $10,000, but the latest sanctions have gotten stricter.

These were introduced in October and have banned all crypto-asset accounts, wallets, or custody services, no matter what the amount involved.