Former Binance.US CEO Brian Brooks Says CZ Was in Charge of the Exchange, Not Him
Brian Brooks, the former CEO of Binance.US, revealed why he left his post at the exchange, in court documents released this week.
In an interview transcript from December 2021 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Brooks was asked about Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao’s role at the US exchange.
“What -- what became clear to me at a certain point was CZ was the CEO of BAM Trading, not me. That's what became clear at a certain point,” Brooks said in the court documents released on Tuesday.
BAM Trading and BAM Management are doing business as Binance.US, and are the crux of a recent enforcement action against Binance.
Brooks resigned from his post as CEO of Binance.US about four months after joining.
Before he was on the regulatory side as the Acting Comptroller of the Currency, which is a bureau within the US Treasury that regulates and supervises national banks, federal savings associations among others.
In his interview with the SEC in 2021, Brooks said there is a distinction between governance, which is the role of the board, and management, which the CEO takes on.
Brooks said he was “overruled” when trying to fix certain issues.
“All of the things that we had previously agreed and had worked on for 80 days were suddenly repudiated with no further discussion, and on that day, I realized, huh, I'm not actually the one running this company, and the mission that I believe I signed up for isn't the mission,” Brooks said.
Fast forward to SEC’s charges against Binance
The SEC sued Binance and CZ over a “blatant disregard of the federal securities laws,” and racked up 13 charges against them.
The SEC accused Zhao and Binance of creating BAM Management and BAM Trading “as part of an elaborate scheme to evade” US laws, by asserting that the Binance.US platform was run independently, when instead Zhao and Binance had a lot of control over that US entity.