So, this is kind of a big deal:
According to lawyers representing Binance and its founder CZ, SEC Chair Gary Gensler offered to serve as an advisor to Binance’s parent company in 2019. 😱
The lawyers claim that documents filed by the SEC indicate Gensler’s involvement, stating that he had conversations with Binance executives and Zhao and even had lunch with Zhao in Japan that same month. At the time, Gensler was a professor at MIT, but he was later appointed head of the SEC in 2021 and has since been leading a crackdown on the crypto industry.
The recent filing by Binance’s legal team suggests that Gensler was initially trying to establish a friendly relationship with the company before turning against it. The Wall Street Journal had previously reported on their relationship based on internal Binance messages and a source close to Gensler. The lawyers also mention that Zhao maintained contact with Gensler after their meeting, including participating in an interview for a cryptocurrency course taught by Gensler at MIT.
Although Binance requested Gensler’s recusal from any actions involving the company due to their previous ties, the SEC has not acknowledged their request. The SEC’s investigations into Binance and its US subsidiary began in 2020 and 2021, respectively, which was after the alleged interactions between Gensler and Zhao. 🥷