Top Binance Executives Exit Over CEO’s Response to DOJ Investigation
Binance's handling of the recent regulatory troubles has led to the departure of some top executives.
Several top Binance executives have resigned this week in response to CEO Changpeng Zhao's handling of the investigation by the US Department of Justice, Fortune reported on Thursday, citing a source familiar with the situation.
The report claimed that General Counsel Hon Ng, chief strategy officer Patrick Hillmann, and SVP for Compliance Steven Christie, along with former IRS agent Matthew Price, have all left the company.
In a recent tweet, Hillman claimed he was leaving on good terms and that he “continues to respect and support” Zhao.
"It’s true that I am leaving Binance, but I’m doing so on good terms. I continue to respect and support CZ and am grateful for having had the incredible opportunity to work under his leadership," he said.
The departure of these executives, particularly from the legal and compliance units, adds further pressure to Binance's already strained relationship with regulators.
The recent exits also come in the wake of rumors surrounding ongoing investigations by the Department of Justice (DOJ) into Binance's alleged attempts to deceive US regulators, money laundering, and sanctions violations on its platform.
Last month, John Reed Stark, former Chief of the SEC Office of Internet Enforcement, there is an increasing probability that the DOJ will file charges against Binance.
The SEC veteran said that there “exist a litany of indicators that US DOJ will file, or has already filed under seal, a Binance-related criminal indictment.” He added:
“To me, the CFTC and SEC complaints read more like criminal indictments, replete with allegations of fraud, deception, obstruction of justice and money laundering.”
Binance Grapples With Regulatory Scrutiny
Binance has been grappling with regulatory lawsuits filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
Last month, the SEC sued Binance and its CEO for their “blatant disregard of the federal securities laws,” unveiling 13 charges against the platform, including operating an unregistered exchange.
The agency accused Binance of breaking the law by offering unregistered securities to the general public, including its BNB token and BUSD stablecoin.
Likewise, French authorities conducted a visit to Binance's office in France last month. They are investigating allegations of illegal provision of digital-asset services and aggravated money laundering.
The exchange was also ordered to cease operations in Nigeria by the country's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
More recently, officials from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) conducted searches at Binance Australia's offices as part of an ongoing probe into the company's defunct local derivatives business.
Despite the ongoing challenges, Binance remains the dominant player in the cryptocurrency exchange landscape.
However, its market share has started to decline in recent months, likely as a result of the regulatory pressures and the withdrawal of support from banks in the US, Europe, and other regions, limiting Binance's access to fiat currency.