Lawyers for Binance claim that current U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chair Gary Gensler once sought to become an advisor for the exchange back in 2019. This purported application occurred while Gensler was teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and coincided with his discussion of the crypto network Algorand during a blockchain seminar.
Ethical Concerns Arise as Binance Lawyers Accuse SEC Chair Gensler of Past Interest
Legal representatives from Gibson Dunn and Latham & Watkins, defending Binance after the SEC filed 13 charges against the platform, suggest that commission chair Gary Gensler expressed interest in advising Binance a few years prior. According to these attorneys, Gensler engaged in multiple talks with Binance executives in March 2019 and allegedly dined with Binance’s founder Changpeng Zhao (CZ) in Japan.
At the time, Gensler was not the SEC chair and held a teaching position at MIT in Massachusetts. He worked for the university’s Sloan School of Management where he conducted several blockchain seminars. Gibson and Latham’s lawyers maintain that CZ and Gensler remained in contact after their meeting in Japan. Despite these supposed ties, the SEC informed CNBC that Gensler is aware of his ethical responsibilities. The agency responded by saying:
Chair [Gary Gensler] is very familiar with and in full compliance with his ethical obligations including any recusal obligations. This isn’t Gensler’s first brush with allegations of pre-judging matters and breaching recusal commitments. Following an interview with New York Magazine’s Intelligencer reporter Ankush Khardori, Ripple’s chief legal officer Stuart Alderoty contended that Gensler should “recuse himself from voting on any enforcement case that raises that issue.” At the time, Alderoty believed that the SEC chair had “prejudged the outcome.”
Additionally, the crypto community has criticized Gensler for his perceived endorsement of Algorand (ALGO). In one notable MIT video, Gensler calls Algorand a “great technology” and suggests it has potential to be utilized for a system akin to Uber. Many view Gensler’s remarks as an endorsement for ALGO, comparable to Kim Kardashian promoting EMAX.
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