A Reuters investigation released on Monday has revealed how United States cryptocurrency exchange Binance was used by criminals to launder at least Sh274.4 billion ($2.35 billion) across the world.
The investigation says that the world’s largest crypto exchange has been used as a conduit by drug lords, hackers, corrupt politicians, and fraudsters to launder billions for the last five years.
“During this period, Binance processed transactions totaling at least $2.35 billion stemming from hacks, investment frauds and illegal drug sales,” a Reuters report says.
The report says that a US government crypto researcher hired to track illegal flows revealed that Binance processed around Sh89.9 billion ($770 million) of criminal funds in 2019 alone.
“Binance kept weak money-laundering checks on its users until mid-2021, despite concerns raised by senior company figures starting at least three years earlier,” the report says.
The UK-based publication says the exchange has around 120 million users worldwide and processes crypto trades worth hundreds of billions of dollars a month.
Criminals are increasingly using crypto exchanges to keep ahead of regulators.
Last month, it emerged that three Nigerians linked to Sh25.6 billion that was moved into Kenya between October and November 2020 bought Bitcoins worth Sh5 billion in multiple countries including at Binance.
The three bought cryptocurrencies worth $36,353,728 (Sh4.2 billion) from US-registered firm Binance.
They also bought Bitcoins worth $7,246,582 (Sh839.5 million) from Busha over the same period.
The three who enjoy the backing of a powerful figure in government also bought an unknown amount of Bitcoins at Kenya’s Bitpesa, and Maltese-registered Quidax.
Get the full investigation here: How crypto giant Binance became a hub for hackers, fraudsters and drug traffickers
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