Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) has issued a warning to employees regarding their internal communications, according to reports, following a lawsuit from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday.
“Everything you say could end up in court (or on the internet) one day,” he wrote employees according to a translated copy of a memo seen by Odaily Planet Daily on Thursday.
The executive’s warning follows the SEC’s recent leak of screenshotted chat logs between employees, including the company's former compliance lead “Sam Lim” and Head of Business Development “Alvin.”
During their conversations, the employees privately discussed “dumping” their BNB tokens before they tanked, and glibly admitted to “operating an unlicensed securities exchange”—much in line with the SEC’s allegations against Binance.
Evidence from SEC case against Binance including internal chat logs, first between Sam Lin (former compliance lead at Binance) and Alivn (previously head of BD)
First is their convo about equity bonuses where Sam talks about risks of holding BNB pic.twitter.com/96IfwJEUOT
— Adam Cochran (adamscochran.eth) (@adamscochran) June 7, 2023
Lim was also caught explaining how an entity could onboard as a client of the Binance US platform, but secretly be allowed to trade on Binance.com’s international exchange through a “special arrangement,” which CZ would “definitely agree too.”
In his letter to staff, CZ dismissed the chat logs as a “complaint” made by two people, but said the ordeal “did a lot of damage” to the company's reputation, and warned that the SEC would likely ask for the exchange’s chat history as part of its investigation.
The CEO clarified that he does not look at employee conversations and that it was his first time seeing those logs. “It's ridiculous for the SEC to use this as a poster, but we'll let the lawyers take care of it,” he added.
The translated memo on Odaily also shows Zhao saying that employees "not satisfied working at Binance" should "seriously consider" their career options.
Binance did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation from Decrypt.
On Thursday, CZ denied SEC claims that Binance had redirected billions of dollars in customer funds from Binance and Binance US to his own company, Merit Peak. “All user funds are accounted for, and never left the http://Binance.US platform (unless users withdraw themselves of course), ever,” he said.