The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed a criminal complaint against Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange platform, for illegally operating a digital asset business without a licence under the Digital Asset Businesses Decree.
Before taking the legal action, the SEC issued a warning letter in April requiring Binance to submit a written explanation for its unauthorised advertisements and posts on its website and Facebook account soliciting the Thai public and investors to use its services.
However, Binance failed to submit a response within the specified time frame.
Violators of Sections 26 and 66 of the decree are subject to a prison sentence of two to five years, fines of 200,000-500,000 baht, and a daily fine not exceeding 10,000 baht for every day during which the violation continues.
“Filing the criminal complaint is merely the beginning of the criminal procedure. An official inquiry will investigate and then recommend whether the public attorney should prosecute. A court of justice will determine guilt,” said the SEC statement.
The SEC stressed only platform providers who have obtained relevant licences under the law are allowed to provide any service related to digital asset businesses.
“The news doesn’t come as a surprise as the SEC already issued a warning to Binance before,” said a source from a local licensed digital asset exchange who requested anonymity.
The news became the topic of the day for many digital asset traders on social media.
Some traders said this is an issue between the SEC and Binance, with the right to decide whether to halt or continue trading with the platform belonging to each trader.
Others said it is their duty to protect the country and traders should not participate in illegal platforms, and should be more careful.
The source said Binance’s business in Thailand is smaller than its business in the US, and it might not be big enough to obtain licensing.
“I think Binance might stop promoting in Thai for now to avoid problems with the regulator,” the source said.
Binance was banned by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority on June 28.
The same day, Binance decided to stop operating in Ontario, Canada, where authorities accused the platform of failing to comply with local regulations.
Binance also received a warning from Germany’s financial regulator.
The company is also being investigated by the US Justice Department and the tax authority.