Binance and WazirX halt off chain transfers amidst ED probe for money laundering

Binance’s CEO has distanced himself from WazirX, and offered to work with the ED as it investigates the Indian exchange

Binance’s CEO has distanced himself from WazirX, and offered to work with the ED as it investigates the Indian exchange

Indian crypto exchange WazirX announced yesterday that it will no longer enable crypto fund transfers between users’ WazirX accounts and their Binance accounts. WazirX also warned users against transferring their crypto funds to international platforms, citing legal reasons.

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“Effective from 11th August 2022 7:30 AM IST, WazirX will cease to support off-chain fund transfers between WazirX and Binance via the “Login with Binance” option,” stated WazirX’s release yesterday.

The update comes almost a week after India’s Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary claimed that WazirX transactions were taking place “off-chain” while using the walled infrastructure of Binance. The Enforcement Directorate [ED] subsequently froze ₹64.67 crore in WazirX’s bank deposits and is probing money laundering allegations against the exchange.

WazirX clarified on Tuesday that users could only transfer funds between their own WazirX and Binance accounts. It also claimed that KYC details were collected for all these transactions, and that such data has been submitted to the ED whenever requested.

The decision to curtail transfers comes at a time when the world’s largest crypto exchange Binance distanced itself from WazirX. A few days ago, WazirX claimed that it was acquired and owned by Binance. However, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao refuted the statement and criticised WazirX for being “uncooperative.” Mr. Zhao also commented that Binance had the technical power to shut down WazirX. He further urged Indian crypto traders to move their funds to Binance.

WazirX has now warned users that moving their funds to international platforms might violate Indian laws. This is due to the 1% or 5% tax deducted at source which Indian crypto users need to pay for transactions above a certain limit.

“For those withdrawing crypto to international exchanges, most of these exchanges do not have a TDS framework in place. Also, many of them have no visibility over the user’s real identity or the scale of transactions,” stated the exchange’s announcement. 

“WazirX has a framework for complying with the TDS as per government notification. We request the users not to panic and take the right decision,” it added.

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