Crypto exchange Binance hires former US Treasury criminal investigator

In recent months, some countries have not authorised Binance units to carry out regulated activity in their markets. PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Binance said on Wednesday (Aug 18) that it had appointed a former United States 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, Italy and Hong Kong have said that Binance units are not authorised to carry out regulated activity in their markets, while Malaysia's financial regulator reprimanded the exchange for operating illegally in the country.

Bloomberg also reported earlier this year that Binance was under investigation by the US 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 organisation's relations with regulatory and law enforcement bodies worldwide," Mr Greg Monahan, the new appointee, said in a statement.

Binance chief executive Zhao Changpeng said last month that 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 per cent since last year. But not all of its recent hires have stayed.

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

Follow ST on LinkedIn and stay updated on the latest career news, insights and more.