After Binance's conviction, subsidiaries under pressure

After Binance's conviction, subsidiaries under pressure

The agreement with the US Department of Justice and the conviction of Binance and its CEO will have consequences for the group's subsidiaries, particularly in France.

It's a collateral consequence, but by admitting his guilt to the US authorities on Tuesday in order to save the company, Changpeng Zhao has embarrassed all the company's other subsidiaries.

"To be regulated in France, an entity must have competent but above all honourable managers and shareholders, which no longer seems to be the case for Binance," explains William O'Rorke, a partner lawyer for ORWL.

The agreement sealed with Washington does provide for Changpeng Zhao's departure from the operational management of his company, but he has confirmed in a message posted on social networks that he intends to remain a shareholder in Binance. This is likely to complicate a number of issues, particularly those relating to obtaining regulatory licences.

To date, the company's application for PSAN (service provider for digital assets) accreditation in France has stalled. Obtaining this approval is vital, as it will be required to continue trading from 2025.

And proving that French regulators are sensitive to Binance's US affairs, a second application filed to authorise the return of derivatives (futures) to its platform has not progressed one iota. According to our information, the AMF feared that a conviction of Binance in the United States would tarnish its reputation.

A European future uncertain

Binance currently employs nearly 150 people in France and even has an incubator at Station F, Europe's largest start-up incubator, based in Paris. To date, it is from the French capital that Binance steers its entire European strategy.

"Binance has made enormous progress in structuring itself in recent years, as evidenced by its PSAN registration (less demanding than the licence but sufficient to operate today, editor's note) obtained in 2022 in France", stresses another source close to Binance. "Nevertheless, its corporate culture still needs to be improved."

What is certain is that time is running out and the regulators are expecting results. Not least because the company is the subject of several investigations being carried out in France, notably for "aggravated money laundering".

"If Binance does not start a regulatory revolution soon, it will be difficult to envisage a future, especially in France," confides a source close to the matter. The issue is the same in several European countries. Is it for this reason that the platform began withdrawing its files in several European countries this summer? When contacted, Binance did not wish to comment.

In the meantime, if the files make no progress, the possibility of a gradual closure of the subsidiaries cannot be ruled out. "This is more of a hypothesis than ever, as the authorities could also choose to withdraw the PSAN registration obtained in 2022", continues a good industry insider.

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