Binance Executives Depart Amid Rumors of Company’s Exit from Russia
Two Binance executives have announced that they are leaving the company amid rumors of a possible exit of the major exchange from Russia.
Binance’s head of Eastern Europe and the CIS, including Russia, Gleb Kostarev, announced in a LinkedIn post dated September 6 that this was his last day at the company.
Friends, today is my last day at Binance. I am stepping down as Vice President and Head of Eastern Europe, CIS, Turkey and ANZ (a few months ago I also stopped covering Asia Pacific).
Similarly, Binance’s general manager for Russia and the CIS, Vladimir Smirkis, announced his departure in a Facebook post dated September 6. He also promised to hold a press conference in Russia in two weeks.
“I know that you and the media will have a lot of questions about causes, future, ideas and experiences. I will definitely share everything. We will do a live broadcast, or maybe we will have a meeting in Moscow to talk to you.”
Possible Closure of Binance Russia
This development follows reports in late August that Binance is considering exiting the Russian market following heightened regulatory scrutiny regarding sanctions imposed on the country following its invasion of Ukraine.
The departure of the executives gives more credence to the idea that the exchange may be preparing to leave the region. However, the executives did not show any negative feelings towards the company’s leadership, and they thanked both of them for their time with the company.
Experts revealed that Binance was lenient towards Russians, not blocking Russian traders from accessing its platform, contrary to what the 8th EU sanctions package stipulates before stricter rules were imposed recently.
And in late July, a report from Rosbank highlighted that the public peer-to-peer (P2P) platform Binance showed several hundred traders offering to buy or sell rubles for USDT, with deals worth around $1 million. The report also mentioned discussions in Binance’s official Telegram chat group for Russian clients about sanctioned banks, such as Rosbank and Rinkoff Bank, using P2P trades through Binance.
However, a Binance spokesperson refuted these claims, stating that the company strictly adheres to the applicable legal frameworks. They stressed that Binance has no affiliations with sanctioned banks, either in Russia or any other jurisdiction, with its P2P service. The spokesperson also stated that Binance prohibits its employees from suggesting or supporting users in circumventing local laws and regulatory policies, with serious consequences for violations.
Despite these statements, concerns have been raised about Binance’s apparent lack of enforcement of Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines and its staff support for users to bypass local regulations. This raises questions about the exchange’s ability to prevent illegal activities. The report stresses the importance of global companies such as Binance implementing stricter know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) measures to ensure full compliance with local regulations.