Catherine Coley, the former CEO of Binance.US, has engaged James McDonald, a former federal prosecutor and top enforcement official at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), as her legal counsel in relation to the US government's investigations into the cryptocurrency exchange giant, according to an insider, reported by Reuters.

McDonald, now a partner at New York-based law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, has not previously been reported as representing Coley.

Coley, who founded Binance.US in 2019, left the company abruptly in 2021. The CFTC recently charged Binance and its CEO, Changpeng Zhao, with willfully evading US laws, operating an "illegal" exchange, and implementing a "sham" compliance program. While Coley was not named in the CFTC's civil complaint, the Department of Justice has been investigating Binance for money laundering and sanctions violations.

It remains unclear whether Coley has cooperated with the government investigations, and she has not made any public comments since leaving Binance.US. McDonald has declined to comment on the matter.

Coley's legal representation follows increased pressure on Binance as the world's largest digital currency exchange faces multiple US investigations. Zhao has expressed disappointment in the CFTC's charges, stating that the company disagrees with many of the allegations in the complaint.

Coley left Binance.US after disputes with Zhao over control of the American exchange, which was established to comply with US laws. Despite claiming to operate independently, banking records and company messages show that Zhao treated Binance.US as a de-facto subsidiary and had access to its bank account.