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Binance Is Building ‘Robust Compliance Program,’ CEO Says

Binance’s new CEO said the cryptocurrency exchange is a more mature company now.

Speaking with CNBC Tuesday (April 9), Richard Teng acknowledged concerns raised by the U.S. Department of Justice — which fined Binance $4.3 billion last year — over the company’s “better to ask for forgiveness than permission” ethos.

“In those very early stages of development … Binance was operating in a certain fashion,” Teng told CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal at the Paris Blockchain Week crypto conference. “But we have moved past that. As the company moves into greater maturity, we are looking at sustainability. The direction of travel now is very clear toward much more compliance, which is why we’re building up a very robust compliance program.”

Binance agreed to pay the fine in November to settle a case brought by the federal government. Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao pleaded guilty to failing to establish proper money laundering controls and agreed to resign from the company. He is due to be sentenced in three weeks and could face up to 18 months in prison.

The plea deals marked the conclusion of a lengthy investigation into the world’s largest crypto exchange.

Prosecutors said that Binance under Zhao had “prioritized Binance’s growth over compliance with U.S. law,” CNBC reported.

U.S. authorities also accused Binance of permitting transactions between users in the U.S. and those in jurisdictions that were under American sanctions, per the report.

Meanwhile, Binance is contending with legal issues in other countries, such as Nigeria, where its head of financial crime compliance, Tigran Gambaryan, has been charged with tax evasion and money laundering.

Gambaryan, who is a U.S. citizen, has been detained in Nigeria since arriving in the country last month after the government said Binance was operating there illegally.

He was taken into custody along with another executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British-Kenyan who is Binance’s regional manager for Africa. Anjarwalla escaped custody and fled Nigeria in March. Binance has said Gambaryan was not responsible for any actions by the exchange, as he had no decision-making power in the company.

Both Gambaryan and Anjarwalla sued the Nigerian government last month, accusing the country’s national security advisor, Nuhu Ribadu, and the Economic Financial Crimes Commission of violating their fundamental human rights. The executives have asked the Federal High Court to order the agencies to release them, return their passports and apologize publicly.

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