Ex-Binance.US CEO Says CZ Was ‘CEO of BAM Trading’: Court Docs

Brian Brooks resigned as CEO of Binance.US after a just few months back in August 2021

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Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao | Web Summit/"Changpeng Zhao" (CC license)

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Brian Brooks, the former CEO of Binance.US, was cited in a transcript linked to exhibit documents in the SEC’s case against Binance, BAM Trading, BAM Management and Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao.

When discussing his role as head of Binance.US, Brooks said, “I did not work for Binance.com, that nobody at Binance.com was my boss, and that my role was to complete and highlight the corporate separateness. So when I talked to CZ, I considered myself to be talking to him in his role as board chair BAM Trading.”

“What became clear to me at a certain point was [that] CZ was the CEO of BAM Trading, not me…That wasn’t because Binance.com somehow controlled us, but again, he owns the vast majority of Binance.com so I put that aside,” he continued.

Brooks was the CEO of Binance.US from May 2021 to August 2021. In a deleted tweet, Brooks said that he resigned because of “differences over strategic direction.”

On Monday, the SEC filed a lawsuit against Binance with 13 charges, as well as allegations of fraud and commingling customer assets. 

Among the charges, the filing quotes multiple unnamed Binance executives as acknowledging that they were running Binance.com “as an unregistered securities exchange in the USA” and quoted Zhao as actively seeking ways to keep “VIP” customers.

“We don’t want to lose all the VIPs which actually contribute to quite a large number of volume. So ideally we would help them facilitate registering companies or moving the trading volume offshore in some way—in a way that we can accept without them being labeled completely U.S. to us,” he allegedly said in June 2019 during a “weekly meeting of senior Binance officials.”

Binance said it was “disheartened” and “disappointed” with the SEC’s lawsuit and said, “Most recently, we have engaged in extensive good-faith discussions to reach a negotiated settlement to resolve their investigations. But despite our efforts, with its complaint…the SEC abandoned that process and instead chose to act unilaterally and litigate.”

The SEC also filed a temporary restraining order against Binance, BAM Trading and BAM Management — both of which supposedly oversee Binance.US separately from Binance.com. 

The temporary restraining order, if granted, would seek to freeze the assets of BAM Trading and BAM Management.

Binance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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