Philippines orders Google, Apple to remove Binance from app stores

Philippines orders Google, Apple to remove Binance from app stores

Binance Founder and CEO Zhao Changpeng attends the Viva Technology conference on innovation and startups at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, France on June 16, 2022.

Benoit Tessier | Reuters

The Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ordered Google and Apple to remove cryptocurrency exchange Binance from their app stores.

In a press release on Tuesday, the regulator said it had sent letters to Google and Apple requesting the removal of Binance-controlled applications from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, respectively.

SEC Chairman Emilio Aquino said the Filipino public’s continued access to Binance websites and apps “poses a threat to the security of the funds of investing Filipinos.”

The agency accused Binance of offering unregistered securities to Filipinos and acting as an unregistered broker, adding that this violates the country’s securities laws.

Binance, Google and Apple were not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

Aquino said that blocking Binance from the Google and Apple app stores would help “prevent the further spread of its illegal activities in the country and protect the investing public from the harmful effects on our economy.”

The National Telecommunications Commission of the Philippines has previously attempted to block access to websites used by Binance in the country.

The SEC said it had previously warned the Filipino public against using Binance and began studying the possibility of blocking Binance services in the Philippines as early as November last year.

The SEC said Binance actively promotes its services on social media to attract funds from Filipinos despite not being licensed by the regulator.

The regulator said it urges Filipinos with investments in Binance to immediately close their positions or transfer their crypto holdings to their own crypto wallets or exchanges registered in the Philippines.

The action adds to a litany of woes for Binance, which recently replaced its CEO in November 2023 with Richard Teng, the former head of UAE regulator Abu Dhabi Global Markets, after a settlement with the US government forced the company to pay a Fined $4.3 billion for alleged money laundering violations.

Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao was charged with violating the Bank Secrecy Act and agreed to resign. Zhao’s sentencing is expected to take place on April 30.

Binance was sued separately by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for allegedly mishandling customer assets and operating an illegal, unregistered exchange in the US

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2024-04-23 12:06:19