Changpeng Zhao, Binance CEO (CZ), has clarified its relationship to WazirX, the crypto exchange whose assets were just frozen by Indian regulators.
Binance was actually a partner with the firm. However, CZ stated that it did not own any equity in WazirX’s operator Zanmai Labs.
What is the deal between Binance and WazirX
CZ mentioned Friday’s tweet from the CEO acknowledging one of Binance’s blog posts in 2019 which stated that the exchange had “acquired WazirX.” He claimed, however, that the transaction was not completed.
He reasserted that Binance had never owned shares in Zanmai Labs, which is the entity operating WazirX.
Binance offers only a WazirX wallet service. It also provides an off-chain transaction solution that helps users to save money on network charges. The company was responsible for all aspects of the exchange, including transactions and withdrawals.
Nischal Shetty, founder of WazirX, said that the story was more complex than that in two follow-up tweets. Binance acquired WazirX, he claimed. The world’s leading exchange still owns WazirX today. He added that Binance “operates crypto to crypto pairs and processes crypto withdrawals.”
Binance also claimed that WazirX owns WazirX’s domain name, has root-access to its AWS servers and all of WazirX’s crypto assets. He said, “Don’t confuse Zanmai with WazirX.”
WazirX’s Trouble with the Law
India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED), in a Friday press release, revealed that it had raided properties linked to Sameer Mhatre, director of Zanmai Labs. It also frozen WazirX’s bank accounts worth $8.1 Million.
According to the ED, several fintech companies were being investigated by the agency for money laundering and predatory lending. WazirX “actively supported around 16 fintech companies accused of laundering proceeds from crime via the crypto route.”
According to the agency, WazirX is actually owned by Zanmai Labs. To hide this fact, the agency has made a network of agreements with Binance and multiple other companies.
Although WazirX claims that it handles all transactions at the exchange at times, Binance has been suggested to be responsible for crypto-to-crypto transfers at other times.
The ED stated that “they are giving contradictory & ambiguous responses to evade oversight from Indian regulatory agencies.”
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