Google removes Binance, Kraken, and other foreign crypto apps from Play Store in India, following allegations of unauthorised operations.
FIU IND has written to Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to block the URL of Binance
Apple also removed at least nine foreign crypto apps from the App Store in India.
Last month, FIU issues a show cause notice to 9 foreign crypto apps, including Binance, for alleged illegal operations.
In the last few days of December 2023, the Indian Finance Ministry’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) issued a show cause notice to nine offshore cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance and Kraken, alleging that the exchanges had been engaging in unauthorised operations in India.
Now, Google has removed a number of crypto exchange apps from the Play Store in India.
Last week, Apple also removed these apps –– that at least includes the 9 crypto apps that have been banned –– from its App Store in India.
The FIU had requested the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to block the URLs of nine crypto exchanges –– which includes Binance, Kucoin, Huobi, Kraken, Gate.io, Bittrex, Bitstamp, MEXC Global, and Bitfenex –– within India.
This move is in response to suspected violations of Indian anti-money laundering regulations by the mentioned exchanges.
“As part of compliance action against the offshore entities, Financial Intelligence Unit India (FIU IND) has issued compliance Show Cause Notices to following nine offshore Virtual Digital Assets Service Providers (VDA SPs) under Section 13 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA),” FIU said in its official notice.
Service providers dealing with virtual digital assets, whether they operate within India or beyond its borders, and engage in activities like virtual digital asset-to-fiat currency exchanges, transfers of virtual digital assets, safekeeping or administration of virtual digital assets, or enabling control over virtual digital assets, must officially register with FIU India as a ‘Reporting Entity.’ Compliance with the specified requirements outlined in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) of 2002 is mandatory for these entities.
According to the communication from FIU, presently, 31 Virtual Digital Asset Service Providers (VDA SPs) have successfully registered with FIU India. However, several foreign entities, despite catering to a substantial user base in India, have been evading registration, thereby operating beyond the scope of the Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Financing of Terrorism (CFT) framework.
The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) India functions as the principal national organisation responsible for tasks ranging from receiving, processing, analysing, to disseminating information related to potentially illicit financial transactions.
This information is shared with both domestic enforcement agencies and international Financial Intelligence Units.
India has traditionally maintained a stringent position on cryptocurrencies and the entities facilitating their trading.
The Reserve Bank of India imposed a ban on cryptocurrency five years ago, it was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court.
However, the central bank has continued to support the idea of outlawing cryptocurrencies, with its leading officials drawing parallels between virtual digital assets and a Ponzi scheme.