Nouriel Roubini

MONEY & BUSINESS: Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao ‘walking time bomb’ after FTX collapse

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The economist known as “Dr. Doom” slammed cryptocurrency platform Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao as a “walking time bomb” on Wednesday following the implosion of its rival FTX.

Nouriel Roubini, a New York University professor, blasted top figures in the cryptocurrency sector as “con men” just days after leading platform FTX collapsed into bankruptcy.

Roubini, who was participating in a panel for Abu Dhabi Finance Week in the United Arab Emirates, was particularly critical of Zhao — arguing regulators should think twice before allowing him to operate.

“What are the 7 C’s of crypto? Concealed, corrupt, crooks, criminals, con men, carnival barkers and, finally, CZ,” Roubini said — the latter being a reference to Zhao.

“The regulators should be thinking carefully. That’s a walking time bomb,” Roubini said.

Nouriel Roubini blasted the cryptocurrency sector as being full of “con men.”
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Roubini noted that the United Kingdom banned Binance last year. Separately, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service are reportedly investigating Binance as part of a probe into potential money-laundering and tax-related violations.

“I can’t believe CZ and Binance has a license to operate in the UAE. He’s banned in the UK, he’s under investigation by the US Justice Department for money laundering, $8 billion in money from Iran. He’s here on this stage and he has residence in this country.”

“This is an ecosystem that’s totally corrupt. Unfortunately, it is, and I think the lesson of the last few weeks is, these people should be out of here.

Changpeng Zhao
Changpeng Zhao is CEO of Binance.
Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images

Roubini also blasted “Shark Tank” star Kevin O’Leary, a former FTX spokesman and early investor, as a “paid hack for FTX.” O’Leary appears on CNBC’s “Money Court.”

“I hope CNBC is going to get rid of him,” Roubini added.

The Post has reached out to Binance, CNBC and O’Leary for comment.

Nouriel Roubini singled out Changpeng Zhao (above) for criticism.
NurPhoto via Getty Images

FTX’s sudden implosion has sparked concerns that the contagion could spread to other major platforms. Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that BlockFi was preparing for a potential bankruptcy filing as it reeled from the FTX meltdown.

Meanwhile, Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced ex-CEO of FTX, faces mounting legal and regulatory pressure amid reports that at least $1 billion in client funds is still missing. FTX recently disclosed it could have more than 1 million creditors.

Binance played a key role in the FTX saga.  As The Post reported, sources said Bankman-Fried had blasted Zhao during private meetings at an investor conference in Saudi Arabia — a move that they suggested likely contributed to FTX’s downfall.

Nouriel Roubini
Nouriel Roubini is known as “Dr. Doom.”
Getty Images for Concordia Summit

“It’s not a coincidence he goes to the Middle East and comes back bankrupt,” one source speculated. “The trip created the unraveling of the fraud. There’s a direct causation between that marketing junket and Bankman-Fried’s downfall.”

Binance originally agreed to buy FTX during its liquidity crunch — but backed out of the deal after taking a look at the platform’s finances.



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