Indian crypto exchange WazirX said its operations are being conducted as usual, even after Binance denied owning equity in Zanmai Labs, the entity operating WazirX. The spat over ownership — Binance had reportedly acquired WazirX in 2019 — surfaced after Indian authorities reportedly froze US$8 million in WazirX assets, alleging possible violation of foreign exchange laws.

See related article: WazirX CEO: India’s crypto industry trying to keep ‘clean’ for regulators

Fast facts

  • “Innocent till proven guilty has changed to guilty till proven innocent,” Nischal Shetty, founder of WazirX, said on Twitter, while clarifying that WazirX’s operations are conducted as usual with crypto and withdrawals in Indian rupees being processed normally.
  • Shetty’s response comes after Binance founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao, in a series of Tweets, said that on Nov. 21, 2019, Binance published a blog post to say it had “acquired” WazirX. However, “This transaction was never completed. Binance has never — at any point — owned any shares of Zanmai Labs, the entity operating WazirX,” Zhao said.
  • Binance only provides wallet services for WazirX as a tech solution, Zhao said.
  • Shetty said in an interview with Moneycontrol that he has legal documents to prove Binance controls all crypto-to-crypto trading as well as crypto deposits and withdrawals on the platform. Shetty also said that WazirX as a product and a brand is owned by Binance, which was acquired in 2019, and has a license from Binance for processing rupee transactions. 
  • The move comes after India’s Directorate of Enforcement (ED), responsible for enforcing economic laws and fighting economic crime, was reportedly investigating WazirX under the Foreign Exchange Management Act of 1999 (FEMA), while sending out a freezing order on WazirX’s assets worth over US$8 million. 
  • WazirX had said earlier it has been cooperating with the ED and responding to their queries. However, WazirX said it does not agree with the allegations in the ED press release. “We are evaluating our further plan of action.”

See related article: Indian crypto exchange WazirX in probe over US$382M in suspect transactions