The Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand is the next jurisdiction to target the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. According to a posting by the securities regulator, the Thai SEC has filed a criminal complaint against Binance for operating a digital asset business without a license.
The complaint has been filed with the Economic Crime Suppression Division of the Royal Thai Police (ECD) for the commission of offense under the Emergency Decree on Digital Asset Businesses B.E. 2561 (2018).
The SEC states that it found that Binance has provided platform services for the trading crypto via its website by matching orders or arranging for the counterparties or providing the system or facilitating entry into an agreement or match the order for persons who wish to trade or exchange digital assets. In so doing, Binance has “solicited the Thai public and investors to use its services, either via its website or Facebook Page: Binance Thai Community.”
On 5 April 2021, the Thai SEC issued a warning letter requiring Binance to submit a written response but Binance failed to submit a response within the specified time.
The SEC states:
“The aforementioned activities of Binance is liable to operating digital asset business in the category of digital asset exchange without license, which is a violation of, or failure to comply with, Section 26 and is liable to criminal sanction under Section 66 of the Digital Asset Businesses Emergency Decree, i.e., imprisonment for a term of two to five years and a fine of 200,000 to 500,000 baht and a further daily fine not exceeding 10,000 baht for every day during which the contravention continues. The SEC has therefore filed the criminal complaint against Binance with the ECD for further investigation and legal proceedings. In any case, filing the criminal complaint is merely the commencement of the criminal procedure whereby the inquiry official will perform an investigation before recommending the case to the public attorney who has authority for prosecution. The power to adjudicate whether any person is guilty or not is, however, vested on the court of justice. “
The SEC noted that digital asset businesses are regulated under the Digital Asset Business Emergency Decree. Only providers who have obtained relevant licenses under the law are allowed to provide services related to digital asset services such as trading. It should be noted that Thailand, as a jurisdiction, has been fairly supportive of innovative financial services and Fintech in general.