Following revelations that Binance was allowing its Russian customers to circumvent Western sanctions via its peer-to-peer trading service, the platform has finally removed the sanctioned Russian banks from its site. However, it seems that some Russian users are still managing to get around these restrictions by using code names to refer to these banks in their transactions.
Binance finally removes sanctioned Russian banks from its platform
Just a few days ago, we relayed an exclusive report from the Wall Street Journal that Binance was allowing its Russian customers to bypass Western sanctions via its peer-to-peer trading service.
While a spokesperson denied this and said that Binance was complying with the requirements of international sanctions, a few days later we learned that Binance had removed the sanctioned Russian banks from its site. Asked about the changes, a Binance representative told the WSJ:
We regularly update our systems to ensure compliance with local and global regulatory standards. When deficiencies are brought to our attention, we work to remedy them as quickly as possible. “
Before adding that proposed peer-to-peer payment methods that “do not comply with our compliance policies are not available on our platform”.
Indeed, the Russian Binance site offered its customers the option of transferring roubles and acquiring stablecoins, in particular USDT, the stablecoin of Tether, via 5 sanctioned banks. These banks included Tinkoff and Rosbank, which are no longer officially available on the platform.
Code names to get around local restrictions
According to an investigation by our colleagues at Cointelegraph, Binance had initially removed the banks affected by the sanctions on 24 August, but only under their official names. In fact, these banks were still available for transactions, but this time under the code names ‘yellow’ (Tinkoff) and ‘green’ (Rosbank).
The next day, on 25 August, Binance removed these code names from its list. As a result, these banks no longer give any results, just like their respective banks under their official names, but other non-sanctioned institutions are still available, such as Raiffeisenbank, Russian Standard Bank, Payeer and AdvCash.
But according to Cointelegraph, and despite Binance’s announcement, some users of Binance’s P2P service currently appear to be offering ‘the green bank’ as a payment method, this time by specifying it in the terms and conditions of sale of transactions so that it is more discreet.
In the end, therefore, it would seem that Russian users of Binance P2P are still managing to find alternative arrangements. In any case, Binance has been under investigation by the US Department of Justice since May. A matter to keep an eye on for the crypto giant, then.