The founder of Binance, one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, has denied an allegation that he breached an exclusivity agreement with venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.
In a company post published today, Zhao Changpeng issued a statement in response to a report that Zhao is being sued by Sequoia Capital after it filed a lawsuit with the Hong Kong High Court.
The response from Zhao follows reports that negotiations involving an 11 percent investment stake in Binance by Sequoia had broken down, according to High Court filings on 26 March and 24 April, reports Bloomberg. Negotiations between the two had started in August.
In December, around the time that talks had fallen through, Binance is alleged to have been approached by IDG Capital, another venture capital firm, with an offer to deliver two rounds of funding: one at $400 million and the second at $1 billion.
As a result, Sequoia brought the lawsuit against Zhao, accusing the founder of violating the exclusivity agreement by talking with IDG Capital. In a bid to prevent Zhao from entering into negotiations with other investors, Sequoia obtained a temporary injunction from the Hong Kong High Court.
However, it now seems that the High Court think that order should not have been granted. In response, the company said in its statement that:
“SCC [Sequoia Capital China] obtained an ex parte injunction without notice against Mr. Zhao at the end of December 2017. After a hearing attended by both parties’ legal representatives in April 2018, the High Court of Hong Kong has now determined that this injunction should not have been granted, as it had been improperly obtained and constituted an abuse of process by SCC.”
The statement said that Zhao denies all allegations that Sequoia has brought against it regarding the present dispute, adding that Sequoia had been ordered to pay Zhao’s costs regarding legal proceedings.
According to Zhao, Binance earned $200 million in its second quarter of existence and has been valued at a conservative estimate of $3 billion. In March, Zhao revealed that the company is setting up an office in the sunny climes of Malta after crackdowns in China and Japan have made it difficult for cryptocurrency exchanges to establish a permanent base.
In an interview Zhao said:
“Malta is very progressive when it comes to crypto and fintech.”