Binance hires two former IRS special agents to bolster security

Both will join the audit and investigations team

Binance, currently the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, has hired two former special agents from the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Cyber Crimes Unit in Washington, DC, to boost the security of the company.

They are Tigran Gambaryan, who has been appointed to vice president (VP) of global intelligence and investigations, and Matthew Price, who was appointed senior director of investigations.

Gambaryan joins Binance after a decade of working at the IRS-CI as a special agent, where he investigated cases involving “national security, terrorism financing, identity theft, distribution of child pornography, tax evasion and bank secrecy act violations”.

The former special agent for the IRS-CI also led an investigation into the infamous Mt Gox hack which led to Mt Gox filing for bankruptcy.

Compliance strengthening

The VP of global intelligence and investigations reports to Jimmy Su, chief security officer of Binance, and will assist in leading the audit and investigations team with a focus on “internal and external investigations to prevent threats and financial losses”.

Gambaryan said: “Compliance is the first line of defence. We will work closely with our colleagues in compliance to identify criminals and refer them for prosecution.

“The constantly evolving crypto industry requires strong cooperation between the industry, law enforcement and regulators. Our goal is to increase trust in cryptocurrency by establishing Binance as the leading contributor in the fight against human trafficking, ransomware and terrorism financing.

“I want to educate the worldwide law enforcement community on how Binance is a partner in the fight against the illicit use of cryptocurrency, keeping the ecosystem more secure and moving it forward sustainably.”

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Price’s appointment “further strengthens an already strong security team”

Price will also join the audit and investigations team, where “he will help to secure and protect Binance and the larger crypto ecosystem from bad actors”. Price has 15 years of law enforcement and intelligence experience.  

Price’s focus will include internal and external investigations with the express purpose “of detecting and mitigating attempts to commit crimes on the Binance platform, as well as proactively supporting investigations conducted by law-enforcement agencies”.

Binance believes the appointment of Price “further strengthens an already strong security team”.

As part of the IRS-CI, Price led the investigation into Helix – “an illicit bitcoin service operating on the darknet, which moved over $311m in bitcoin, primarily from darknet narcotics transactions”.

Price said: “As a criminal investigator, I quickly learned that the key to success in crypto investigations is working closely with those within both the private and public sectors. I plan to leverage the skills I developed as an investigator to stay one step ahead of emerging threats in the crypto space.

“My interest in joining Binance stems from my desire to further strengthen government and industry collaboration to ensure crypto continues to grow and flourish throughout the world.

“At Binance, our team will focus on identifying and mitigating these emerging threats, and collaborating closely with law enforcement and regulatory bodies to ensure the larger crypto ecosystem is a safer place for all.”

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Further reading: Binance.US CEO resigns months into role

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