The former CEO of Binance.US, Brian Brooks, has revealed why he left his position as the CEO of the exchange in court documents submitted this week.
Brooks had resigned as the CEO of Binance.US in August 2021, just months after taking the position.
Court documents cited Brooks in a transcript linked to documents regarding the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s case against Binance, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, Bam Trading, and Bam Management. In the interview transcript with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Brooks was asked about his role as the head of Binance.US; Brooks stated,
“I did not work for Binance.com, that nobody at Binance.com was my boss, and that my role was to complete and highlight the corporate separateness. So when I talked to CZ, I considered myself to be talking to him in his role as board chair of BAM Trading. What became clear to me at a certain point was [that] CZ was the CEO of BAM Trading, not me…That wasn’t because Binance.com somehow controlled us, but again, he owns the vast majority of Binance.com, so I put that aside.”
At the time of resigning, Brooks stated that he was leaving his position as the CEO of Binance.US because of differences over strategic direction. Brooks held his position at the American arm of Binance for only three months.
The SEC’s Case Against Binance
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit against Binance and its CEO Changpeng Zhao on Monday. The lawsuit contained 13 charges, including allegations of fraud and co-mingling of customer assets. The action came after months of threats, warnings, and discussions, with the exchange and Zhao accused of operating a “web of deception.” The filing against Binance also includes quotes from multiple unnamed Binance executives, which it stated were acknowledging that they were running Binance.com as an unregistered securities exchange in the US. It also quoted Zhao as seeking ways to keep its VIP customers.
According to the lawsuit, Zhao, in a weekly meeting with senior company officials, stated,
“We don’t want to lose all the VIPs, which actually contribute to quite a large number of volume. So ideally, we would help them facilitate registering companies or moving the trading volume offshore in some way—in a way that we can accept without them being labeled completely US to us.”
Binance handles billions worth of investments for small and established investors and also sponsors Italian Serie A team Lazio and the Argentina National team. The action on the exchange is part of a wider crackdown on crypto initiated by the SEC, which began after the collapse of FTX. FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been charged with several offenses, including securities fraud and money laundering.
Reacting to the SEC lawsuit, Binance stated that it was “disheartened and disappointed” with the SEC lawsuit. It added that it had extensively discussed with the regulator to reach a negotiated settlement.
“Most recently, we have engaged in extensive good-faith discussions to reach a negotiated settlement to resolve their investigations. But despite our efforts, with its complaint…the SEC abandoned that process and instead chose to act unilaterally and litigate.”
The SEC also added that it had filed a temporary restraining order against BAM Trading, BAM Management, which oversees Binance.US operations, and against Binance. If the order is granted, it would look to freeze the assets of BAM Trading and BAM Management.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.