Binance Appoints New General Counsel Amid Increased Legal Pressure

Key Points:

  • Eleanor Hughes has been appointed as Binance’s new general counsel.
  • The announcement comes as the exchange faces legal challenges in various countries.
  • Hughes will head Binance’s legal affairs with an 85-person team, collaborating with the global compliance team to address regulatory and legal challenges.
Binance announced the appointment of Eleanor Hughes as general counsel on Thursday.
Binance Appoints New General Counsel Amid Increased Legal Pressure

Hughes will head the blockchain and cryptocurrency infrastructure provider’s legal affairs with a staff of 85 attorneys, according to the exchange. She will collaborate with the worldwide compliance team as the corporation confronts a slew of regulatory investigations.

She joined the legal team in 2021 and was later elevated to Binance’s Head of Legal for APAC and MENA, where she supervised cases in both areas and headed a team of attorneys focusing on regulatory affairs, M&A, commercial law, and litigation. She has worked at American legal companies such as Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

Binance Appoints New General Counsel Amid Increased Legal Pressure

Hughes is a seasoned attorney with 15 years of experience in both private practice and in-house jobs. Prior to joining Binance, she worked for almost ten years at legal firms in the United States, including Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, and Affiliates, where she specialized in litigation and contentious situations.

“Eleanor has been working at Binance for nearly two years now and, during that period, she has quickly grown to be a trusted advisor to me and Binance on legal matters. Her extensive legal experience, strong industry knowledge, deep integrity, and great work ethic make her an indispensable asset to the company. With Eleanor at the helm, I am confident that our industry-leading legal team will continue to excel in its mission to always protect users and manage risks on our platform,” Binance founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao said in a statement.

Hughes has assisted the firm in obtaining virtual asset service provider licenses in countries such as Bahrain, Dubai, and New Zealand.

She fills the vacancy created by previous general counsel Han Ng, who left the company this week along with a number of other top executives, including chief strategy officer Patrick Hillmann and SVP for compliance Steven Christie. According to reports, the US Department of Justice is looking into whether Binance was used to help Russians avoid US sanctions. Binance is in complete disarray as a result of a Department of Justice investigation, with a mini-exodus of key executives adding to the strain.

Binance Appoints New General Counsel Amid Increased Legal Pressure

Binance is also under investigation by many US agencies, with the Commodities Futures Trading Commission bringing a complaint against the company in March. This month, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued the exchange and Zhao for allegedly breaking securities laws.

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