The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continues its investigation into Binance and its founder, Changpeng Zhao, seeking evidence related to the alleged existence of a backdoor that could potentially enable control over assets stored on the Binance.US platform.
In June, the SEC initiated legal action against Binance and Binance.US, asserting that they operated illegal securities exchanges. The focal point of the lawsuit has been the SEC’s concerns regarding the possibility of Binance engaging in an FTX-style fraud and expropriating American crypto assets.
Despite Binance and Zhao recently pleading guilty to criminal charges, primarily addressing long-standing U.S. investigations related to anti-money laundering controls and compliance with sanctions laws, the Justice Department’s case did not include accusations of Binance misusing customer crypto assets.
During a status hearing on Monday in federal court, Binance.US’s legal representatives urged U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui to consider terminating the SEC’s investigation into potential fraud. Judge Faruqui, who has overseen evidentiary disputes between the two parties, pointed out that the recent guilty pleas make it less likely for Zhao to misuse U.S. customer assets. He expressed a willingness to conclude the investigation, stating, “At some point, I have to make a leap of faith and say enough is enough,” to the SEC’s lawyers.
Binance.US’s attorneys informed the court on Monday that the platform has experienced significant challenges and financial strain due to the SEC lawsuit. The average monthly value of Binance.US assets has plummeted by almost 90%, and the platform has witnessed a nearly 50% reduction in monthly users since the SEC filed its case, according to Binance.US attorney Matthew Laroche.
Laroche emphasized that the SEC has failed to provide any evidence suggesting the misuse of assets. He asserted, “The SEC has no evidence that assets have been misused in any way,” during the court proceedings.
Judge Faruqui instructed both parties to work towards resolving their evidentiary disputes and to provide an update by December 15.
Information for this story was found via The Wall Street Journal and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.