India freezes assets of local unit WazirX, owned by Binance

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MUMBAI (Reuters) – India’s Financial Crime Fighting Agency said Friday it has frozen the assets of WazirX, owned by the world’s largest digital currency exchange Binance, as part of its investigation into suspected currency violations.

The Federal Enforcement Directorate (ED) said it has frozen assets worth rupees 646.70 million ($8.16 million).

WazirX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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The agency said its action was related to investigating the crypto exchange’s suspected role in helping instant loan app companies launder the proceeds of crime by converting them into cryptocurrencies on its platform.

The ED launched an investigation into WazirX – owned by Binance since 2019 – last year for suspected currency violations.

In 2021, ED investigated a money laundering case involving illegal online gambling applications in Chinese hands. During the investigation, it was found that the laundered crime proceeds worth about 570 million rupees had been converted into cryptocurrencies using the Binance platform, the ED had said.

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($1 = 79.2040 Indian Rupees)

(Reporting by Nupur Anand; editing by Louise Heavens)

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