Binance Blocks Colombian Users Over Dutch Police Investigation

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In Brief
  • Currently, 20 known users, all based in Colombia, are subjected to the Binance blockage.

  • Some affected users have over one BTC stored with Binance.

  • A local source claims Binance blocked the withdrawal of funds from the affected accounts.

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The Trust Project is an international consortium of news organizations building standards of transparency.

After a criminal investigation from Dutch authorities, Binance blocked 20 Colombian users of access to their accounts. 

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According to a report from a local news source, the Dutch Attorney General ordered a freeze on these assets as “criminal.” Thus, Binance complied and suspended at least 20 users from access to their accounts, all of which are from Colombia. 

The message received when users attempted entrance into their account portals, originally in Spanish, gave little information on the suspension. 

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“Thanks for using Binance. Your account is currently under review by the Dutch law enforcement authorities. For more information on the status of your account, please contact the officer in charge of this case.”

Only after users responded to the message  in a help chat did the responder from Binance call the suspension “risk management.”

Some claimed inaccessibility to “lifetime savings”, some of which exceed the value of 1 bitcoin (BTC). The local source reports that some of the affected users already contacted legal aid for assistance gaining access to their assets. 

Moreover, the source says Binance not only blocked withdrawals, some cannot see their balance.  Most of the affected users  claim operating on the peer-to-peer (P2P) platform. 

Commitment to Compliance

According to the local news source, upon questioning, Binance reaffirmed their commitment to compliance with local authorities. The exchange said it is working with “entities that enforce the law to ensure that the community is safe and prevent fraudulent activities.” 

Recently in another compliance bid, Binance hired former IRS agents

Despite some users following through on identity authentication, the issue with their accounts was not resolved.  Binance asked some users for legal identity and income documents in their native country of Colombia. On the other hand some had instructions to contact Dutch authorities and a state agency within the United States. 

This is the latest of many compliance-related initiatives taken by Binance. Others include the discontinuation of services offerings in various locations such as South Africa and Singapore

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Savannah Fortis is a multimedia journalist covering stories at the intersection culture, international relations, and technology. Through her travels she was introduced to the crypto-community back in 2017 and has been interacting with the space since.

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