Boris Johnson’s brother has quit as an advisor to Binance amid the cryptocurrency crash

Official records showed that Boris Johnson’s brother Joe was advising cryptocurrency firm Binance as it struggled to launch the exchange in the UK.

Lord Johnson of Marylebone took a role on the UK advisory board of a Binance affiliate in September, The Telegraph can reveal.

He resigned last week as pressure grew over the transparency of Binance’s finances and amid a deepening crisis in the cryptocurrency sector.

Former universities minister Lord Johnson acted as an advisor to Bifinity, a payments company founded by Binance, along with Lord Vaisey, the former digital minister, according to Parliament disclosures. Lord Fayzi is also a member of the Binance Global Advisory Board.

The involvement of two former government ministers highlights the offshore cryptocurrency firm’s efforts to build legitimacy with regulators and politicians after falling foul of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) ruling last year.

The FCA has banned Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, from launching a UK division over concerns about its transparency. The watchdog has issued three separate warnings regarding Binance’s activities.

The company is also facing increased scrutiny from US authorities, who are reportedly considering criminal penalties against the company. Binance declined to comment on the US investigation.

On Monday, when asked if he was still working with Bifinity, Lord Johnson said he had resigned. He told the Telegraph: “I resigned from the advisory board last week and I have no part in it [or] any related entity”.

A Binance spokesperson said: “Lord Johnson has recently assumed the role of CEO of FutureLearn. He will focus on his new role in the digital learning platform, and is looking to scale back other activities.”

Lord Johnson’s resignation comes amid growing concern about cryptocurrencies following the failure of FTX, which was the second largest exchange after Binance.

The crash sent shock waves across the cryptocurrency world as rival exchanges race to reassure customers.

Cayman Islands-registered Binance published a report detailing its financial backing of cryptocurrencies last month, hiring Mazars auditors to conduct a “Proof of Reserves” report.

However, that report was taken down and deleted from the web on Friday as Mazars temporarily stopped working with cryptocurrency firms and dropped Binance as a customer.

Last week, Binance endured $6 billion in customer outflows from nervous traders.

Bifinity, headquartered in Lithuania, was launched by Binance in March this year to provide services for converting traditional currencies such as pounds and dollars into digital currencies. Bifinity was described as “part of the Binance Group” in a filing with US regulators in April. The filing said its sole shareholder is Changpeng Zhao, better known as CZ, the CEO of Binance.

The company provides a digital wallet to customers in the UK in a deal with payments company Skrill. Bifinity is also working with payments provider Paysafe to provide access to Britain’s ‘fastest payments’ network.

In March, Bifinity provided funding to a British crypto company, which led to a warning from the FCA that Binance posed a “significant risk” to British consumers.

Lord Johnson holds four current directorships and eight positions, including his role at Bifinity, which is included in his official parliamentary interest register.

His brother, the former prime minister, appeared at a conference for cryptocurrency enthusiasts in Singapore last month.

In July, Lord Vaisey told the House of Lords that “the Financial Conduct Authority not working harder to regulate cryptocurrency companies,” according to Hansard records, was a “tragedy.”

Separately, the US division of Binance said on Monday that it had reached an agreement to buy the assets of a bankrupt cryptocurrency firm for $1 billion. Binance.US has been named the highest and best bidder for Voyager Digital’s assets, which collapsed in July. FTX was set to acquire its assets, but that deal fell through when FTX also went bankrupt.

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