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Binance Removal from App Stores, Philippines Orders

Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission has instructed Google and Apple to purge cryptocurrency exchange Binance
April 23, 2024

The Philippines' Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken a decisive step against cryptocurrency exchange Binance by ordering Google and Apple to remove its app from their respective app stores.

According to a press release issued on Tuesday, the SEC stated that it had sent letters to both Google and Apple, urging them to remove all Binance-controlled applications from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, citing concerns regarding the security of Filipino investors' funds.

SEC Chairperson Emilio Aquino emphasized that allowing continued access to Binance sites and apps poses a significant threat to the security of Filipino investors' funds, as Binance is accused of offering unregistered securities and operating as an unregistered broker, thus violating the country’s securities laws.

Binance, Google, and Apple were not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

Aquino further stressed that removing Binance from the Google and Apple app stores would help curb the proliferation of its alleged illegal activities in the country and protect Filipino investors from its adverse effects on the economy.

This move by the Philippines’ National Telecommunications Commission follows previous actions to block access to Binance websites within the country.

The SEC had previously cautioned the public against using Binance and had been studying the possibility of blocking its services in the Philippines since November of the previous year. Despite the warnings, Binance continued to actively promote its services on social media, attracting funds from Filipino investors without proper licensing from the regulator.

The SEC is now urging Filipino investors with holdings in Binance to close their positions immediately or transfer their cryptocurrency holdings to registered crypto wallets or exchanges within the Philippines.

This latest action adds to the growing list of challenges for Binance. The company recently replaced its CEO with Richard Teng, the former chief of the UAE regulator Abu Dhabi Global Markets, in November 2023, following a $4.3 billion fine imposed by the U.S. government for alleged money laundering violations.

Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao faced charges of violating the Bank Secrecy Act and has agreed to step down. Zhao’s sentencing is scheduled for April 30.

Binance is also facing separate lawsuits from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission over alleged mishandling of customer assets and the operation of an illegal, unregistered exchange in the U.S.

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