Binance withdraws Abu Dhabi license bid as crypto exchange reevaluates global structure following CEO turmoil

Binance has withdrawn its application for an Abu Dhabi license, the latest sign that the giant crypto exchange is reevaluating its global structure as regulatory pressure increases.

A Binance spokesperson said Thursday that the Binance unit, called BV Investment Management, has withdrawn its application with Abu Dhabi’s financial regulator.

The request, filed a year ago and withdrawn on November 7, would have allowed the company to manage the collective investment fund, according to the regulator’s website.

“When assessing our global licensing requirements, we decided that this application is not necessary,” a Binance spokesperson said.

Abu Dhabi Global Market’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) declined to comment.

Binance founder Changpeng Zhao stepped down as CEO last month after pleading guilty to breaking US anti-money laundering laws, with the exchange paying $4.3 billion to resolve a years-long US investigation. agreed to pay more than.

A Binance spokesperson said the decision to withdraw the license application was “unrelated” to the US settlement.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is pushing to become a digital asset hub, has been an important location for Binance. Its website shows that Binance has regulatory permissions in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Binance said last year that it was hiring for more than 100 positions in Dubai to help shape its crypto regulations.

According to US court documents, former CEO Zhao, a Canadian citizen who was born in China, also became a UAE citizen at the invitation of the United Arab Emirates. The filings show Zhao is listed as the owner of two properties in Dubai.

New CEO Richard Teng, speaking virtually at the Financial Times conference in London on Tuesday, said the company’s Middle East and North Africa headquarters is based in Dubai.

He said the company would announce the location of its global headquarters “in due course”, but declined to provide further details on when that announcement would occur.

Cyprus, Belgium

This year, Binance has withdrawn from the license application process in Germany, backed out of Cyprus and said it was leaving the Netherlands. Financial regulators ordered it to cease operations in Belgium, but in August it said it had set up a Polish unit to serve clients in Belgium.

Binance said the withdrawal from Cyprus was intended to focus on “less regulated entities in the EU,” including France, Italy and Spain, ahead of the rollout of EU crypto asset regulations.

Binance has also stopped accepting new users in the UK and said it will sell its Russian business. In Australia, regulators revoked the financial services license of Binance’s derivatives business.

Last week, the securities regulator in the Philippines said it had begun the process of blocking Binance there.

A Binance spokesperson said Thursday that the company will continue to work with regulators “to provide world-class services and offerings in the Middle East and beyond.”

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