Both Binance and Binance.US have faced layoffs and executive departures as the crypto exchange faces a reported probe from the Department of Justice and a lawsuit from the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the DOJ continues to undergo an investigation that could ultimately end in criminal charges against both Binance and CEO Changpeng Zhao.
The SEC, in a lawsuit filed back in June, alleged that the crypto exchange violated securities laws and commingled customer funds. Binance has refuted the commingling claim.
As part of the report, the WSJ said that, prior to his departure, former Binance.US CEO Brian Shorder said Binance.US revenue fell 70% year to date and that Zhao needed to sell his Binance.US shares or put his assets in a blind trust. The report also alleged discussions around Zhao stepping down from his helm at Binance.
“As a fast-growing company in a nascent, complex industry, Binance’s evolution has not been free of mistakes. To ensure the sustainability of the entire crypto/web3 ecosystem, we have worked tirelessly not just to learn the lessons of the past, but also to continue to invest in the teams and systems that ensure user protection,” a Binance spokesperson told Blockworks via email.
“We have made massive investments in compliance talent, processes, and technology and continue to focus on building industry-leading global compliance and law enforcement assistance programs.”
Binance.US did not immediately return a request for comment.
In posts on X, Zhao has pushed back on memes about the executive departures, saying that only one of his direct reports left in the past year.
“Moreover, while many of our ex-team members are very strong, change is not always a bad thing […] We keep our teams dynamic to increase growth opportunities,” he added.
In addition to the legal uncertainties facing both US and Binance, the global company reportedly mulled exiting Russia.
“All options are on the table, including a full exit,” Binance reportedly told the WSJ back in August. Binance said that it is working to align itself with international sanctions following reports that it helped nationals move money abroad.
Binance shuttered individual accounts with family ties to Russian officials in April of last year.
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