According to Reuters, the Russian intelligence services received information from the Binance crypto exchange about users who made large transfers to the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK, an organization recognized as extremist and banned in Russia) Alexei Navalny. Fundraising for Navalny in cryptocurrencies skyrocketed after his arrest. Supporters have donated over 670 bitcoins worth $28 million through exchanges.
The source writes that employees of Rosfinmonitoring (Federal Financial Monitoring Service of the Russian Federation) agreed on this in April 2021 with the head of Binance for Eastern Europe and Russia, Gleb Kostarev.
Russian intelligence agencies demanded that the exchange provide customer data, including names and addresses, “to help fight crime.” According to Reuters sources, Kostarev admitted to his partners that he had no choice. The company said that the Russian authorities never contacted Binance about Navalny.
The meeting with representatives of Rosfinmonitoring was one of Binance’s attempts to unofficially establish ties with Russian government agencies. Reuters sources familiar with the activities of the exchange in Russia, including former employees, business partners and leaders of the crypto industry, told about this strategy to Binance. Binance representatives told Reuters that “active engagement with the Russian government has now been terminated due to the conflict.”
the day before Binance announced new restrictions: the exchange restricts access to its services to those users who live in Russia and have assets with a total value of more than 10 thousand euros. For users who meet these criteria, only the withdrawal function will now be available.