December 8, 2023 at 13:03 GMTModified date: December 8, 2023 at 13:03 GMT
December 8, 2023 at 13:03 GMT

Binance pulls out of UAE in a global restructure under new CEO

Binance is going through a strategic shift under its new CEO, Richard Teng, as it realigned its company goals with its latest announcement.

Binance pulls out of UAE in a global restructure under new CEO

Binance is going through a strategic shift under its new CEO, Richard Teng, as it realigned company goals with its latest announcement. The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange has officially withdrawn its licence application in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) capital of Abu Dhabi.

A successful green light of the permit would have allowed the platform to operate a collective investment fund in the region. A company spokesperson commented on the change of plans saying that the team decided that this application was not “necessary” while assessing its global licensing needs.

Binance has been facing increasing regulatory challenges all around the world recently. However, despite the latest move, Binance assured its users that it remains “committed” to regulatory compliance and wishes to provide services in the Middle East and beyond in the time to come.

Recently, the UAE had expressed its vision to establish itself as a crypto hub. With its government adopting a pro-innovation stance spurring crypto boom, the Middle East country remains a key location for Binance.

As per the official website of Binance, Abu Dhabi still permits the company to perform its services in the city. However, it has slowly been winding down operations in other parts of the world. The crypto exchange has already made its exit from Russia, Canada and the Netherlands and wound down its derivatives exchange in Australia.

A new leadership

The latest development came just two weeks into the new CEO taking his reins in the company. Under Teng’s leadership, Binance seeks to adopt a more conventional corporate structure. 

As indicated by him, this includes naming a headquarters and board of directors, as well as providing greater financial transparency. Over the past few weeks, Teng has reiterated his goals for the exchange as being user-focused, working with regulators to uphold standards and collaborating with partners to grow Web3.

These changes come in at a crucial time as the new CEO is tasked with reshaping the company policies following Binance’s guilty pleas to US charges. As noted by Attorney General Merrick Garland, Binance’s policies allowed criminals involved in illicit activities to move “stolen funds” through the exchange. 

According to him, the exchange “pretended to comply” with US federal laws by offering paths for certain users to access Binance despite their ties to illicit funds.

A $4.3billion settlement with the exchange was then announced by the DOJ. The crypto exchange responded saying that it was “pleased” to have reached the resolution with authorities. It also claimed to have “never faltered in upholding [its] core values of user security and safety”.

This was also accompanied with the resignation of the then-CEO Changpeng Zhao ‘CZ’ as he pleaded guilty to violating Anti-Money Laundering laws in his case with the DoJ. 

In a Seattle federal court ruling, CZ has been restricted to stay in the US until his sentencing in February 2024. He will also not be allowed to return to the UAE, where his family resides. 

The attorneys of the DOJ had moved to keep Zhao in the country as the former CEO had “minimal ties to the US” and, therefore, might not return should he be allowed to leave.

More recently, professional footballer Cristiano Ronaldo was also sued for his partnership with the exchange Binance, as per a 27 November filing to US district court in Florida. 

The legal action was taken by a group of plaintiffs who claim to have suffered losses worth over $1 billion due to Ronaldo’s involvement with the exchange.