Top Binance Execs Leave Company Over CZ’s Handling of DOJ Investigation: Report

Three senior officials left the exchange this week, a source told Fortune.

AccessTimeIconJul 6, 2023 at 9:59 p.m. UTC
Updated Jul 7, 2023 at 3:39 p.m. UTC

At least three senior officials have departed embattled crypto exchange Binance this week as the company prepares to defend itself on multiple fronts, Fortune reported on Thursday.

Binance General Counsel Han Ng, Chief Strategy Officer Patrick Hillmann, and Senior Vice President for Compliance Steven Christie are among those that have resigned, a source familiar with the matter told Fortune. In addition, Binance’s Global Vice President of Marketing and Communications Steve Milton left the company in June, according to his LinkedIn profile. Their departure follows Senior Director of Investigations Matthew Price's recent decision to part ways with the exchange.

A Binance spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.

The decisions by Ng, Hillmann and Christie to leave had to do with Binance founder and CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao’s response to an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, according to Fortune, citing a source familiar with the situation. The investigation reportedly relates to Binance's attempts to fool U.S. regulators and alleged money laundering and violations of sanctions.

Hillman tweeted on Thursday, however, that he was leaving on good terms and that he “continues to respect and support” Zhao.

Binance is already under investigation from multiple regulators around the world, and the exodus of executives from the company's legal and compliance units is likely to complicate its efforts to defend itself.

In June, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Binance, alleging the exchange had committed 13 counts of securities law violations. Two months earlier, the company faced a lawsuit from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). It also faces several investigations led by regulators in Europe and Australia.

The investigations have stymied the operations of the exchange's stateside business, as well as that of its international trading arm, which U.S. regulators have speculated are deeply enmeshed. In the wake of the SEC lawsuit, Binance lost a major European banking partner. Meanwhile, Binance.US announced it would cease trading in U.S. dollars.

The price of BNB, Binance's native crypto token, has dipped about 2% since the publication of Fortune’s article.

Edited by Nelson Wang.


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Elizabeth Napolitano

Elizabeth Napolitano is a news reporter at CoinDesk.

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