Binance Faces European Exodus as Regulatory Woes Mount

Just a year ago, Binance’s founder, Changpeng Zhao, embarked on a European advertising tour, fueling excitement about the company’s expansion plans. However, the tide has turned as Zhao now finds himself facing a lawsuit filed by the American Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The SEC alleges that Binance mixed customer funds with its own, further intensifying the regulatory scrutiny on the company.

While Binance denies these accusations, the repercussions are not limited to the United States alone. Binance’s global operations are feeling the heat, leading to the departure of several prominent European managers, including key members of the German-speaking team.

Michael Wild, formerly tasked with spearheading Binance’s business in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, has stepped down as the managing director of Binance companies. Wild, who previously held positions at KPMG and Etoro, chose to part ways with the company after a year and a half. Raphael Zakarias, his co-manager in Austria, has also left the organization.

Additionally, at the European level, high-ranking executives are taking a break, including Martin Bruncko, who held the position of “Executive Vice President, Europe” at Binance. Bruncko, a former advisor to the Slovak Minister of Finance and a participant in important EU bodies, departed from the company in May.

In recent weeks, other notable departures include Mike Ringer, the Head of Legal (Europe & CIS) based in London, Lynn McConnell, the Director of Compliance Europe in London (since the end of last year), Daniel Trinder, the Vice President of Government Affairs and Policy in the United Kingdom, and Doron Rozenberg, the Head of Marketing DACH in Frankfurt.

Binance had been actively seeking licenses across numerous European countries in recent months, achieving success in France, Italy, and Cyprus but encountering roadblocks in Germany.

“Binance will not obtain a license in Germany unless BaFin is a French fries shop,” a former manager quipped to German media Wirtschaftswoche. The ongoing legal proceedings in the United States are expected to slow down license applications worldwide. In Germany, the responsibility now falls on Jonas Jünger, who joins from a crypto company in Austria, to lead Binance’s business operations.

In relation to the suit filed by the SEC against Binance, the regulator filed a motion to freeze all assets belonging to Binance.US while pursuing legal action on securities-related charges. Fearing offshore fund transfers and potential record destruction, the regulator sought a temporary restraining order (TRO).

However, Binance.US’s legal team opposed the complete asset freeze, arguing that it would be akin to a “death penalty.”

The two parties then agreed on a temporary deal that will see that customers assets parked in the crypto firm’s US arm will remain in the country, provided that only local employees have access to customer funds.

Information for this briefing was found via Finance FWD and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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