Crypto exchange Binance US transferred $400 million from its platform to a trading firm managed by Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, a Reuters report today claims, citing documents.
The cash was moved in the first three months of 2021 from the US affiliate’s account at Silvergate Bank to Merit Peak Ltd, the news agency said.
Merit Peak Ltd is a little-known trading firm reportedly managed by Zhao. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said last year that it was investigating the firm.
Binance US is a digital asset exchange for U.S. customers. It is a partner of the world’s biggest crypto exchange Binance but is ostensibly independently run.
Reuters also cited text messages from Binance US executives concerned about the flow of funds. Former Binance US CEO Catherine Coley asked about the transfers at the time, referring to them as “unexpected,” according to Reuters. Coley was unceremoniously ousted as CEO of Binance US in April 2021, replaced by former OCC Chief Brian Brooks—who himself departed the company three months later.
On Wednesday, Binance said it would likely pay fines to settle SEC investigations.