Guangying ‘Heina’ Chen has been a prominent name that came up on several occasions in the allegations filed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission against Binance. Although holding no official title at Binance, Heina was repeatedly found as the signatory on the exchange’s bank accounts.
Heina’s name comes up in the discussion of several separate lawsuits filed by the SEC, including artificially inflating trading volumes. Binance documents were found to describe her role as “finance director”. However, her existence in the company’s operations was nowhere to be found before Binance founder Changpeng Zhao’s blog post last September. Documents show that she controlled most Binance accounts after CZ himself.
Investigations claim that Chen is the director of eight companies owned by Binance, as well as the primary admin user of numerous bank accounts that belong to 27 entities registered in 13 countries. This places Chen as head of Binance’s finances and the manager of bank accounts that hold over $148 billion in assets.
CZ’s seemingly partner behind the scenes has paid $32 million herself into the accounts she holds power over. However, it was her signature that activated some of the most consequential transactions made by the company, which ended up being a part of the case against Binance of inflating trading volumes. Chen was also involved in transactions that led to CZ’s spending on luxurious purchases, such as a $55 million jet and an $11 million yacht.
A former Binance executive stated that “The secretive Chen remains at the helm of Zhao’s and Binance’s assets. “Heina had all controls,” adding that “[Zhao] trusted very few people with access to money.”
In the process of attempting to secure a financial institution to cooperate with Binance in Liechtenstein, Chen’s signature was found on a wire transfer of $5 million into escrow from a Binance bank account held with Liechtenstein-based Bank Frick & Co. This is a trend that often repeated itself. CZ’s signature was not as frequently found on such transactions made by Binance. It was often Chen’s.
In the blog post uploaded by CZ, he mentions that he hired Chen work at his new crypto company Bijie Tech, a cloud-service startup that provided software to support crypto exchanges. Zhao stated that Chen was hired to “manage the back office as the early team was mainly engineers,” and that her presence was crucial to maintaining operations in China due to her Chinese citizenship. After Bijie Tech was reportedly shut down due to rampant scam allegations , it was discovered that Chen controlled 93% of the company’s shares and was listed as the founder of the company.
When Binance was founded in 2017, Chen was once again listed as the legal representative of the company, holding 80% of the shares. Chen even went on to email a person who was blasting the company on Chinese websites for scamming their friend, saying “such activities on your part may be considered malicious to us, and we may respond to such attacks with prosecution for damage to our reputation, manipulation of public opinion, and even defamation.”
CZ constantly attempted to downplay Chen’s role in the company, once claiming that she was responsible for the “admin and clearing team. However, Chen was once again found to be the legal representative of Binance in two companies in Malta in 2018.
The whereabouts of Guangying ‘Heina’ Chen is not exactly clear to anyone. CZ mentioned that she is a “passport holder in a European country, where she lives quietly with her family.” But, her LinkedIn says that she resides in the UAE.
In the blog post, CZ mentioned that “Guangying had to leave her family, her home, and her friends behind when most of us left China in 2017,” and that “It was a tremendous sacrifice and she is one of the very few people who will ever truly understand the impact that this has had on all of us.”
Binance’s SEC troubles seem to be bubbling up with some speculating that both the company and its founder might be facing federal charges filed by the US Department of Justice. CZ seems to be preparing himself, in case that happens, by including a former SEC deputy director of Enforcement.