Several high-ranking executives have resigned from Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, amid a growing storm of regulatory scrutiny, according to a report by Fortune. The departures include top officials from Binance’s legal and compliance departments, which could complicate the firm’s efforts to navigate its current legal challenges.
Wave of departures hits Binance
According to insider sources cited by Fortune, general Counsel Han Ng, Chief Strategy Officer Patrick Hillmann, and Senior Vice President for Compliance Steven Christie have parted ways with Binance. Global Vice President of Marketing and Communications Steve Milton had also exited the company in June, as verified by his LinkedIn profile. These departures come on the heels of Matthew Price, Senior Director of Investigations, choosing to leave the exchange.
This sudden exodus comes as Binance finds itself at the center of several investigations worldwide. Specifically, it’s alleged that the company’s founder and CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, attempted to mislead U.S. regulators, a claim tied to an ongoing probe by the U.S. Department of Justice. Binance is also accused of possible money laundering and sanctions violations, intensifying the regulatory gaze on the firm.
Following reports on the departure, Patrick Hillmann took to Twitter to clarify that he was leaving on good terms and continued to respect and support Zhao.
However, these departures come at a critical time when Binance is grappling with a series of legal disputes. In June, the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against Binance, accusing it of 13 counts of securities law violations. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) had also previously lodged a lawsuit against the company.
Binance faces additional investigations by regulators across Europe and Australia. The regulatory pressure has put the brakes on the operation of its business in the U.S., resulting in Binance.US announcing that it would cease trading in U.S. dollars. Furthermore, in the aftermath of the SEC lawsuit, Binance lost a major European banking partner, causing a ripple effect on the company’s international trading arm.
Binance’s CEO, CZ, dismissed the reported reasons for the executive departures as “FUD,” or fear, uncertainty, and doubt, on Twitter. He alleged that the reasoning behind the resignations was “dreamed up” and “completely wrong.”
The ongoing saga has seemingly affected investor confidence, as Binance’s native crypto token, BNB, saw a 4% dip since the publication of Fortune’s article, indicating the market’s nervous reaction to these unfolding events.
Binance has yet to publicly comment on these departures, pointing to Zhao’s tweet when asked. Meanwhile, Binance’s head of legal for APAC and MENA, Eleanor Hughes, is set to replace Ng, and Noah Perlamn, who joined as Chief Compliance Officer in February, is expected to stay on at the company.