Global cryptocurrency exchange Binance has named former federal investigator Greg Monahan as its global head of money laundering reporting.
After spending most of his career as a U.S. government criminal investigator, leading cybercrime investigations at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Monahan will now be based in Washington and put in charge of an existing team. The former holder of the top money laundering role, Karen Leong, will now become director of compliance, the company said.
“My efforts will be focused on expanding Binance’s international anti-money laundering and investigation programs, as well as strengthening the organization’s relations with regulatory and law enforcement bodies worldwide,” Monahan said.
Binance’s compliance scramble
When regulatory investigations target financial firms, a natural strategic reaction is a flurry of compliance hires. Binance is currently under such scrutiny, and reacting accordingly. Not only is Binance facing a probe by the Department of Justice and IRS into potential illicit activities. On top of this, the crypto industry is also bracing for new rules, like IRS amendments on reporting crypto transactions.
In order to appease regulators, Binance has devoted considerable resources to scooping up employees with government experience. These hires include former executives from the Financial Action Task Force, Max Baucus, a former Democratic Senator. Additionally, Binance is courting Singapore Exchange’s former chief regulatory officer Richard Teng as its chief in the Asian financial hub.
However, Chia Hock Lai, co-chairman of the Blockchain Association Singapore believes that the potential appointment of a former regulator alone won’t be enough to placate regulators in prominent financial centers. This is perhaps one reason Binance is making such a comprehensive push in its compliance efforts.
Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao himself declared that his top priority is to hire people with compliance and regulatory experience. The Chinese-Canadian recently admitted that he is spending almost all his time on compliance, and is “not really involved in the day-to-day operations of the exchange.”
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