Brazilian Congress puts Binance CEO CZ in crosshairs for indictment

A Brazilian congressional committee has recommended local law enforcement move to indict Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” and three other Binance executives following a probe into financial pyramid schemes in Brazil.

On Oct. 10 the committee released a 500-page final report accusing Zhao and local Binance executives Daniel Mangabeira, Guilherme Haddad Nazar and Thiago Carvalho of fraudulent management practices, operating without sufficient authorization and offering securities trading without authorization.

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In the report, the committee — led by deputy Ricardo Silva — claimed that Binance, Zhao and others “set up an opaque network of legal entities, all controlled directly or indirectly by Zhao, without defined business purpose and with no other purpose than evading compliance with the law.”

The report also recommended the indictment of 45 other people citing “strong evidence” of alleged participation in criminal schemes, with those named linked to multiple crypto companies, including the travel firm 123milhas, the crypto scheme 18K Ronaldinho and others.

Binance CEO Chanpeng Zhao stands accused of multiple financial crimes. Source: Chamber of Deputies of Brazil

Silva wrote that with Binance being accused of regulatory non-compliance in numerous other jurisdictions, in Brazil, Binance’s operations were “surrounded by suspicion.”

The committee recommended the Federal Public Ministry launch an investigation into all of Binance’s Brazil-based operations with a specific focus on tax evasion, money laundering and the financing of organized crime and terrorism.

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Additionally, the committee recommended Brazil’s Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM) launch an investigation into Binance’s sale of derivatives products.

The committee claimed that despite being told to cease derivatives products trading, Binance continued to offer them, which constituted a “repeated violation” of market regulations. Binance is already under investigation by the CVM for allegedly illegally offering derivative products in the country.

The committee’s recommendations are not legally binding and are suggestions to local authorities. Police and other regulatory bodies will decide whether or not to move ahead with further action.

Binance told Cointelegraph that it “remained committed” to collaborating with the committee and local law enforcement in Brazil.

Related: Brazilian securities regulator plans sandbox for tokenization in 2024

Binance said while it welcomed constructive debate about the challenges facing the crypto industry, it “strongly rejects the exposure of our users or employees with baseless accusations of bad practices and the attempts to make Binance a target.”

The regulatory hostility against Binance comes amid a broader crackdown on the exchange by authorities elsewhere.

In the United States, Binance is staring down two separate lawsuits from the local commodities and securities regulators, which allege that Binance and its top executives violated numerous financial regulations.

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In July, Australia’s financial regulator searched Binance Australia’s offices after having its derivatives license stripped months prior. In May, Binance made an exit from Canada citing the country’s new regulatory controls.

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Author: Tom Mitchelhill

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