Binance.US has bulked up its legal expertise and added four lawyers to fight recent charges from the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
One of those lawyers includes former co-director of the SEC’s enforcement division, George Canellos, according to Bloomberg News.
Canellos was also the SEC’s acting director and deputy director in the enforcement division where he set enforcement priorities and policies, according to his bio.
From July 2009 until May 2012, Canellos served as a director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office where he was responsible for enforcement investigations and actions, as well as compliance inspections.
Canellos is now a partner at Milbank LLP.
John Reed Stark, former chief of the SEC’s enforcement division, called Canellos a “uniquely qualified criminal defense all-star lawyer,” on Twitter.
“Canellos possesses a rare and remarkably special combination of skillsets — having served as both an SEC prosecutor and a DOJ prosecutor. Think Liam Neeson meets Perry Mason,” he said.
Three other lawyers from Milbank will also joining Binance.US’s defense team, according to Bloomberg, including Adam Fee, Matthew Laroche and Andrew LeBlanc.
The SEC versus Binance
The SEC sued Binance last week for their “blatant disregard of the federal securities laws,” along with 13 charges, including operating an unregistered exchange.
The SEC said Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao and Binance knew that they were operating the Binance.com platform in violation of various US laws.
“As Binance’s CCO bluntly admitted to another Binance compliance officer in December 2018, ‘we are operating as a fking unlicensed securities exchange in the USA bro,’” the SEC said in its complaint. “(Emphasis added.)”
Following the lawsuit, Binance.US halted US dollar deposits and wanted users to withdraw funds by June 13.
“The SEC has taken to using extremely aggressive and intimidating tactics in its pursuit of an ideological campaign against the American digital asset industry. Binance.US and our business partners have not been spared in the use of these tactics, which has created challenges for the banks with whom we work.
“As a result, in an effort to protect our customers and platform, today we are suspending USD deposits and notifying customers that our banking partners are preparing to pause fiat (USD) withdrawal channels as early as June 13, 2023. We encourage customers to take appropriate action with their USD,” Binance tweeted on June 8.
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