Binance Hires Ex-U.S. Agent Who Led Probes on Silk Road, Mt. Gox
(Bloomberg) -- Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, hired a former U.S. Internal Revenue Service special agent who worked on some of the digital-asset world’s most high-profile investigations.
Tigran Gambaryan -- who led several multibillion-dollar cyber-investigations at IRS including on the Silk Road website and the Mt. Gox hack -- joins Binance as vice president of global intelligence and investigations, according to a statement. Another former IRS special agent, Matthew Price, is coming on board as senior director of investigations, Binance said.
Binance is bolstering its ranks as it says it’s focusing strongly on compliance and working with regulators around the globe. The exchange expanded quickly in an environment with few rules, and the cryptocurrency market’s rapid growth has drawn attention from officials who haven’t always liked what they’ve seen. Binance alone has faced a slew of probes and consumer warnings in recent months from regulators in countries including the U.S., U.K., Thailand, Singapore and Japan.
“The Binance investigations team now includes the top investigators in the world,” Binance Chief Executive Officer Changpeng “CZ” Zhao said in the statement. “This level of experience will make Binance a leader in compliance, enhancing trust in Binance and the cryptocurrency ecosystem as a whole.”
Gambaryan, in his decade at the IRS-Criminal Investigations Cyber Crimes Unit, investigated cases involving national security, terrorism financing, identity theft, distribution of child pornography, tax evasion and bank secrecy act violations.
“I led some of the most significant cyber and cryptocurrency investigations in history, including the Silk Road, BTC-e bitcoin exchange and the Mt. Gox hack,” he said in an email. “I look forward to bringing this experience to Binance’s investigations team and cementing Binance’s position as an industry leader in compliance and investigations.”
Price led international cyber-investigations at the IRS targeting bad actors who sought to exploit cryptocurrency for illicit purposes. Those included Helix, the first investigation and successful prosecution of an illicit Bitcoin tumbling service operating on the darknet.
“Compliance is the first line of defense,” Gambaryan said in the statement. “Our goal is to increase trust in cryptocurrency by establishing Binance as the leading contributor in the fight against human trafficking, ransomware and terrorism financing.”
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