Financial authorities in Kazakhstan have targeted at least five online platforms that trade cryptocurrencies outside of the law. Searches in the north of the country seized documents, computer equipment and cryptocurrency wallets.
Kazakhstan’s financial regulator goes after unlicensed crypto exchange services
The Financial Monitoring Agency (FMA) of the Republic of Kazakhstan has dismantled a group involved in illegal cryptocurrency exchanges. Its members organized trading through several websites such as kzobmen.com, 1wm.kz, kazobmen.ru, wm007.kz and kz-exchange.com.
As part of the operation in the Kostanay region, searches were carried out at six locations, during which items incriminating the operators of the platforms were confiscated, the watchdog said in a press release. Employees confiscated a number of laptops, cell phones and flash memory sticks, as well as banking and accounting records.
The authority accused the organizers of the online exchanges of “particularly high” income from their business operations, without naming the amount. It also didn’t reveal how many people were in the group or their identities.
Investigators were able to discover that they had two crypto wallets with a combined balance of $6,000 in digital assets on Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange. Access to these wallets has been temporarily restricted, the FMA noted. Coins worth more than $200,000 were found in wallets on other exchanges.
According to the announcement, a preliminary investigation is underway. The Financial Monitoring Agency also reminded that these types of activities are allowed only under the special legal regulation of the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC).
The Kazakh government has taken steps to regulate the country’s crypto market, which has grown since the Central Asian nation became a bitcoin mining hotspot following China’s crackdown on the industry in 2021.
In order to legally operate an exchange platform, crypto companies must obtain regulatory approval and register with the financial hub of Kazakhstan. In October 2022, Binance was licensed as a provider of crypto exchange and custody services. Earlier this month, it agreed to share information about crypto-related crime with authorities in Nur-Sultan.
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