Binance.US has hired four lawyers, including George Canellos, a former co-director of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement division, to fight recent charges brought by the regulator. Canellos, who is now a partner at Milbank LLP, has served as a director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office and as acting director and deputy director in the enforcement division. He will join three other lawyers from Milbank, namely Adam Fee, Matthew Laroche, and Andrew LeBlanc, on Binance.US’s defense team.
John Reed Stark, a former chief of the SEC’s enforcement division, has called Canellos a “uniquely qualified criminal defense all-star lawyer” and praised his rare combination of skills, having served as both an SEC prosecutor and a Department of Justice prosecutor.
Last week, the SEC sued Binance for allegedly operating an unregistered exchange and for its “blatant disregard of the federal securities laws”. The regulator also charged Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao and Binance with knowing that they were violating various US laws by operating the Binance.com platform. The SEC cited an admission by Binance’s chief compliance officer in December 2018 that “we are operating as a fking unlicensed securities exchange in the USA bro”.
Following the lawsuit, Binance.US stopped accepting US dollar deposits and asked users to withdraw funds by June 13, citing the SEC’s “extremely aggressive and intimidating tactics” against the US digital asset industry. Binance.US tweeted that it was suspending USD deposits and notifying customers that its banking partners were preparing to pause fiat (USD) withdrawal channels. The company encouraged customers to take appropriate action with their USD.
In response to recent charges brought by the SEC, Binance.US has hired legal expertise to defend itself. The company has added four lawyers to its defense team, including George Canellos, a former co-director of the SEC’s enforcement division. The SEC has accused Binance of operating an unregistered exchange and violating US laws, and Binance.US has suspended USD deposits and warned customers that its banking partners may pause fiat withdrawal channels.