Unplanned Mystery Visit to South Korea by Binance CEO Richard Teng: What’s the Goal?

Richard Teng, CEO of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, made a secret visit to South Korea.

This visit is believed to be an attempt to communicate directly with South Korea’s financial authorities to resolve the stalled issue regarding Binance’s entry into the South Korean market.

Binance acquired Gopax in late 2022 and started working to enter the South Korean market. However, the company is facing difficulties as fiscal authorities have not approved a change to GoPax’s virtual asset operating license for more than a year.

According to an interview with News1, Teng arrived in South Korea with an undisclosed schedule. During his visit, he is expected to meet with officials from the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and attempt to communicate with financial officials.

Binance had chosen to acquire GoPax as a way to enter South Korea in late 2022. When GoPax’s crypto custody service Gopay failed to refund money to its users following the FTX crisis, Binance also took responsibility for Gopay’s debts.

After becoming the majority shareholder of Binance, Gopax appointed Leon Singh Fung, former head of Binance Asia Pacific, as CEO. The company submitted a name change to the FIU, but the FIU continued to delay its decision.

The reason why financial regulators did not accept GoPax’s change is due to Binance’s legal risk. Late last year, Binance was fined $4.3 billion by the US Department of Justice.

As a result of FIU’s tough stance, earlier this year Binance formalized its intention to sell part of its stake in Gopax and become the majority shareholder.

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CEO Richard Teng is expected to discuss these management improvements, as well as strategies to save Gopax, with officials during his visit. Industry experts say Richard Teng’s decision to engage directly with South Korea’s financial authorities stems from his background at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the emphasis he placed on “compliance” when he was appointed head of Binance.

Binance also recently hired an additional government affairs representative from the South Korean Financial Supervisory Service. It was reported that this person will also focus on improving GoPax’s management.

*This is not investment advice.

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