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India Freezes Crypto Exchange Wazirx’s Bank Accounts, Binance Denies Ownership

India’s Directorate of Enforcement (ED) recently issued a press release regarding Wazirx, a major digital asset exchange in India. ED is a law enforcement and economic intelligence agency of the government of India.

The announcement mentions,

“Directorate of Enforcement (ED) has conducted searches on one of the directors of M/s Zanmai Lab Pvt Ltd, which owns the popular cryptocurrency exchange Wazirx and has issued a freezing order to freeze their bank balances to the tune of INR 64.67 crore.”

ED further mentioned that the aforementioned action is part of its money laundering investigation against non-bank financial companies and their fintech partners for “predatory lending practices in violation of the Reserve Bank of India guidelines.”

The announcement mentions:

“ED found that large amounts of funds were diverted by the fintech companies to purchase crypto assets and then launder them abroad. These companies and their virtual assets are untraceable at the moment.”

Having seen media reports of his crypto exchange being mentioned in connection with Wazirx, Binance CEO mentioned on Twitter that his firm does not own any equity in Zanmai Labs.

CZ explained,

“Binance only provides wallet services for Wazirx as a tech solution. There is also integration using off-chain tx, to save on network fees. Wazirx is responsible for all other aspects of the Wazirx exchange, including user sign-up, KYC, trading, and initiating withdrawals.”

Notably, Zhao’s clarification shocked the Indian cryptocurrency community since they were under the impression that Wazirx is a Binance-owned company.

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