Binance.US enlists all-star lawyer as it preps for government showdown

George Canellos led the SEC’s enforcement division until 2014


Zolnierek/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


Binance.US is preparing for a legal showdown, and it’s beefing up its legal team ahead of a hearing scheduled for June 13. 

In a filing on Monday, George Canellos, a partner at Milbank’s New York office, declared himself as counsel for both BAM Trading and Management.

Canellos worked at the SEC as a co-director of its enforcement division from 2009 until 2014. He was part of the investigations that led to $570 million in sanctions in connection with misleading investors about residential mortgage-backed securities against JPMorgan Securities, Credit Suisse Securities, RBS Securities, and Bank of America following the 2008 financial crisis.

According to his biography page on Milbank’s website, Canellos has represented multiple executives and companies in SEC cases. 

A 2014 New York Times Dealbook article quotes former Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chief David Meister praising Canellos, saying that Canellos was “extremely well thought of” in the regulatory community.

Last week, the SEC sued Binance, Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, BAM Management and BAM Trading — which oversee Binance.US —with violations of the exchange and securities acts as well as alleged potential fraud. 

The SEC is currently seeking a temporary restraining order against the above defendants, and seeking specifically to freeze the assets of BAM Management and BAM Trading. 

In response, Binance.US announced last week that it would be pausing customer withdrawals and — at least temporarily — focusing on being an all-crypto exchange “as early as June 13.”

A hearing on the temporary restraining order is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, June 13. 

Binance.US declined to comment.

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