Binance refuses to pay mere $8,000 fine to Uzbekistan, gets sued

The National Agency for Prospective Projects (NAPP) of Uzbekistan has sued crypto exchange Binance after a small fine imposed in January remains unpaid.

Binance was slapped with a 102 million som ($8,200) fine in January for operating in the country without a license. Though pocket change for the global — yet deeply troubled — exchange, Binance has apparently given regulators the cold shoulder.

The NAPP has now taken the issue to court. According to the agency’s deputy director Vyacheslav Pak, Binance’s evasiveness came as no surprise.

“Naturally, as we expected, they refused to pay,” Pak told local outlet Gazeta. “Therefore, following the legislation of the Republic of Uzbekistan, we will submit a corresponding claim to the court, and a decision will be made.”

Read more: Binance and CZ plead guilty but SEC lawsuit remains

Uzbekistan first blocked access to Binance in August 2022, along with other major exchanges like Kraken, FTX, and Huobi. Only exchanges licensed with the NAPP have the right to carry out crypto transactions.

However, Binance continued to operate illegally. When NAPP fined the firm in January, it claimed that alongside skirting license requirements, Binance failed to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) checks, couldn’t say who was in charge, and didn’t show proof of reserves.

NAPP now hopes to force Binance into compliance. “We will formally ensure that Binance complies with the requirements of our legislation,” Pak added.

Binance and its former chief Changpeng Zhao (CZ) are embroiled in lawsuits and probes across the globe. In November, it reached a record-breaking $4.3 billion settlement with the US Department of Justice, in which CZ and the firm pleaded guilty to felony charges of violating the Bank Secrecy Act, failure to register as a money services business, and failure to maintain an effective AML program.

CZ will be sentenced in the US in the coming weeks.

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