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Crypto exchange Binance hires former US Treasury criminal investigator

Published 08/18/2021, 05:46 AM
Updated 08/18/2021, 08:50 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Binance is seen on their exhibition stand at the Delta Summit, Malta's official Blockchain and Digital Innovation event promoting cryptocurrency, in St Julian's, Malta October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi/File Photo

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Binance said on Wednesday it had appointed a former U.S. Treasury criminal investigator as its global money laundering reporting officer, part of an attempt by one of the world's largest crypto exchanges to reinvent itself as a regulated financial firm.

Governments and financial watchdogs are paying closer attention to the cryptocurrency industry, often putting in place rules that pose a challenge for exchanges like Binance that have thrived in a mostly unregulated environment.

In recent months, Britain https://www.fca.org.uk/news/news-stories/consumer-warning-binance-markets-limited-and-binance-group, Italy https://www.consob.it/documents/46180/46181/pr_20210715.pdf/7f78ad2d-a146-4b17-abe8-92efac07f49e and Hong Kong https://apps.sfc.hk/edistributionWeb/gateway/EN/news-and-announcements/news/enforcement-news/doc?refNo=21PR76 have said Binance units are not authorised to carry out regulated activity in their markets, while Malaysia's https://www.sc.com.my/resources/media/media-release/sc-takes-enforcement-actions-on-binance-for-illegally-operating-in-malaysia financial regulator reprimanded he exchange for operating illegally in the country. Bloomberg also reported earlier this year Binance was under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service.

"My efforts will be focused on expanding Binance’s international anti-money laundering and investigation programs, as well as strengthening the organization’s relations with regulatory and law enforcement bodies worldwide,” Greg Monahan, the new appointee, said in a statement.

Binance chief executive Changpeng Zhao said last month he wanted to improve relations with regulators, and said the exchange would seek their approval and establish regional headquarters.

Wednesday's statement said that Binance has grown its international compliance team and advisory board by 500% since 2020.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Binance is seen on their exhibition stand at the Delta Summit, Malta's official Blockchain and Digital Innovation event promoting cryptocurrency, in St Julian's, Malta October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi/File Photo

But not all of its recent hires have stayed.

Brian Brooks, chief executive of Binance's U.S. arm, and formerly acting U.S. Comptroller of the Currency resigned earlier this month, just three months after taking up his role.

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