BaFin reportedly advised Binance that CEO Changpeng Zhao wouldn’t pass a “fit and proper” test as part of the financial watchdog’s licensing regime.
The German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, or BaFin, reportedly advised crypto exchange Binance to withdraw its licensing application based on concerns with CEO Changpeng Zhao and the firm’s structuring.
According to a July 28 report from The Wall Street Journal, BaFin advised Binance that Zhao, also known as "CZ," may not have passed a “fit and proper” test under the financial watchdog’s regulatory guidelines. The regulator’s guidelines for a license application state managing directors — in this case referring to CZ — must “have the required professional qualification and be of good repute to manage an institution and must dedicate sufficient time to performing their functions.”
BaFin also reportedly told Binance the company’s structure hindered regulatory supervision. Binance announced on July 26 that it had withdrawn its application in Germany, saying at the time the decision was based in part on focusing the company’s effort on becoming compliant with the European Union’s Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) framework.
A spokesperson for Binance told Cointelegraph that The Wall Street Journal story was inaccurate. The exchange did not provide a specific response on the details regarding CZ at the time of publication.
In the United States, Binance faces legal actions brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for allegedly violating securities laws and trading guidelines, respectively. Lawyers for the exchange requested the dismissal of the CFTC lawsuit in a July 27 court filing, claiming the commission had exceeded its authority.
Binance and CZ claim CFTC oversteps jurisdiction in legal filing, call for lawsuit dismissal. https://t.co/49viHYuHGE— Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) July 28, 2023
Though no criminal charges have been filed at the time of publication, reports suggested the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has been investigating Binance for violating U.S. sanctions on Russian entities. Binance chief strategy officer Patrick Hillmann announced on July 6 he would be leaving the firm, reportedly in response to the DoJ probe.
Though it’s one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world, Binance has no brick-and-mortar headquarters. Reports have suggested that CZ has had a home in Dubai since 2021, but the SEC had difficulty issuing the CEO a legal summons in June.