Crypto exchange giant Binance wanted to hire Gary Gensler as an adviser years before he became head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Gensler declined, per the Journal, which cited a trove of messages among Binance staffers. The Journal reported that efforts to bring Gensler aboard occurred in 2018 and 2019, when Gensler was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Those efforts included an October 2018 meeting involving Gensler, former Binance venture arm head Ella Zhang, and Harry Zhou. Zhou worked for a company financed by Binance at the time, per the Journal.
“I observe that while Gensler declined advisor-ship, he was generous in sharing license strategies," Zhou wrote in a chat message at the time, the Journal reported.
Binance has previously tapped other U.S. government officials, including former Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, as advisers.
The Journal's report focuses on the relationship between Binance and Binance.US, its American arm. That relationship has been the subject of scrutiny among U.S. regulators, particularly the SEC.
Last week, three U.S. senators issued a letter seeking more information about Binance, Binance.US, and their operational relationship.
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