SEC Files Lawsuit Against Binance for Deception and Illegal Operations in the US
The lawsuit alleges that Binance misled customers, misdirected funds, and operated as an unregistered securities exchange.
SEC files lawsuit against Binance accusing it of engaging in an “extensive web of deception” and violating securities laws. If the lawsuit is successful, it could lead to Binance and its founder, Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao, being prohibited from conducting business in the United States. This enforcement action comes in the wake of a similar lawsuit filed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission against Binance earlier this year. In this article, we will delve into the details of the SEC’s accusations and explore the potential consequences for Binance.
Allegations of Deception and Violations:
According to the SEC’s lawsuit, Binance and its affiliated companies allegedly deceived customers and funneled funds into a separate investment fund owned by CEO Changpeng Zhao. These accusations bear resemblance to similar allegations made against Binance’s former rival, FTX, and its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried. The lawsuit also claims that Binance and its affiliate BAM Trading operated as unregistered securities exchanges, broker-dealers, and clearing agencies. Furthermore, the SEC alleges that Binance sold unregistered securities, including its native tokens BNB and BUSD.
Strong Condemnation from SEC Chair Gary Gensler:
SEC Chair Gary Gensler did not hold back in criticizing Binance and its entities, stating that they were involved in an “extensive web of deception, conflicts of interest, lack of disclosure, and calculated evasion of the law.” Gensler highlighted that Binance and Zhao misled investors regarding risk controls, manipulated trading volumes, concealed the identities of platform operators, engaged in manipulative trading through affiliated market makers, and withheld information about the custody of investor funds and crypto assets. Gensler urged the public to exercise caution when considering investments on these unlawful platforms.
Elaborate Scheme and Market Manipulation Allegations:
Similar to the complaint filed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the SEC alleges that Binance unlawfully operated in the US as part of an elaborate scheme to evade federal securities laws. The SEC asserts that Binance falsely claimed that BAM Trading operated the Binance.US platform independently and that US customers were not able to use the Binance.com platform. Echoing similar accusations made against FTX, the SEC claims that Zhao and Binance maintained substantial involvement and control over the US entity, allowing high-value US customers continued access to Binance.com while concealing it from regulators.
Changpeng Zhao, in response to the lawsuit, stated on Twitter that Binance would issue a response once they have reviewed the complaint. The SEC’s lawsuit adds to the growing legal challenges faced by Binance, following previous actions taken by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Bloomberg initially reported on the lawsuit, highlighting the SEC’s allegations of mishandling customer funds and providing false information to regulators and investors regarding Binance’s operations.
Ongoing Regulatory Pressure:
This lawsuit against Binance comes amid rumors of a new CEO at the exchange. Despite being the largest crypto exchange by trading volume, Binance has faced increasing scrutiny from regulatory agencies. The Justice Department is currently investigating the exchange for alleged money laundering practices. These developments underscore the importance of regulatory compliance within the cryptocurrency industry.
The SEC’s lawsuit against Binance represents a significant development in the regulatory landscape of the cryptocurrency market. The accusations of deception, illegal operations, and violations of securities laws have raised concerns about investor protection and the overall integrity of the industry. As the legal proceedings unfold, it is crucial for Binance and other cryptocurrency exchanges to adhere to regulatory guidelines and ensure transparent operations. Investors must exercise caution and conduct thorough due diligence when engaging with crypto platforms to protect their assets and interests.