Binance US Onboards Ex-SEC Official to Help its Legal Team
- Binance.US has hired a former enforcement co-director at the SEC to support its legal team in its battle with the SEC.
- George Canellos left the SEC after four years of serving at the agency and holding different leadership roles.
- Ex-SEC internet enforcement chief John Reed Stark said that the firm is preparing for a criminal prosecution.
- The regulator claims that the exchange failed to register itself as an exchange, broker, and clearing agency.
The US arm of the world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance, has hired a former enforcement co-director at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), George Canellos, to its legal team in an effort to defend itself from the various allegations that the securities regulator has put forth in its lawsuit against the firm.
Earlier this month, the United States SEC filed a lawsuit against Binance, its US entity, and CEO Changpeng Zhao, also known as CZ in the crypto industry. In a 136-page document, the regulator stated that the crypto exchange had secretly mixed and transferred billions of dollars in customer assets to Merit Peak Limited, a different business owned by Zhao. Along with this, several other allegations were also made against the executive and his firm.
However, as per a July 12 report from Bloomberg, the US arm of the crypto exchange, Binance.US, has officially hired Canellos, who is currently a part of the international law firm Milbank LLP, along with three other lawyers, to aid the exchange in defending itself against the SEC. Canellos left the US agency in 2014 after maintaining different leadership positions for four years.
Interestingly, former SEC internet enforcement chief John Reed Stark pointed out via his official Twitter account that Binance is “clearly preparing for a criminal prosecution and continuing to hire the best defense attorneys in the world,” while adding:
“Given the gravity of the fraud alleged by the CFTC and SEC (which might also be the tip of the iceberg of any criminal indictment), a DOJ prosecutor would certainly seek prison time for anyone convicted or pleading guilty to Binance-related crimes.”
The US arm of the crypto exchange is facing action from the SEC, as the agency claims that Binance.US failed to register itself as an exchange, broker, and clearing agency.
It is crucial to mention here that the SEC has filed a motion to freeze the assets of the US arm of the exchange. In a June 12 filing on the SEC’s motion, Binance.US said that the proposed remedies from the regulator will “effectively end” the firm’s business. The exchange claims that the regulator seeks, among many other things, “a draconian and unduly burdensome freeze of all the company’s operations without any exceptions.”