Ex-CEO of Binance US Enlists Lawyer Amid U.S. Investigations

Former Binance.US CEO Catherine Coley has hired James McDonald, a former federal prosecutor and top cop at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), to represent her in the U.S. government’s ongoing investigations into the exchange.

The investigations involve allegations of money laundering, sanctions violations, and other illegalities. They have placed increasing pressure on the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.

The representation of Coley by McDonald’s had not been previously reported. It remains unclear when he started representing her or whether she has cooperated with authorities.

His experience in the public corruption unit of the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office and as a CFTC top cop makes him a valuable asset in the investigations. The move comes as Binance and its founder, Changpeng Zhao, face charges from the CFTC for operating an “illegal” exchange and a “sham” compliance program.

The investigations have also involved the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission seeking records and communications involving Coley from the exchange.

Binance US former CEO hires lawyer amidst US probes

The U.S.Coley launched Binance.US in 2019 but left two years later after clashing with Zhao over his control of the American exchange. She raised alarms over millions leaving the US firm’s account to Zhao’s managed trading firm.

Furthermore, Reuters reviewed records indicating Zhao controlled the US firm as a subsidiary, and his team accessed its account. The exchange publicly claimed to operate independently as a partner. However, the CFTC’s complaint suggests that Binance personnel, including Zhao, dictated its corporate strategy, launch, and early operations.

The investigations into Binance come amid increasing regulatory and government scrutiny of the cryptocurrency industry worldwide. The outcome of the investigations into Binance could have significant implications for the wider cryptocurrency industry.

As the U.S. government’s investigations into Binance continue to heat up, its former CEO appointing a top lawyer underscores the growing pressure on the crypto giant.

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