DOJ, Trustee Appeal Court-Approved Binance-Voyager Deal
The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an appeal late Thursday evening against a New York bankruptcy judge’s decision to approve Binance.US’s billion-dollar proposal to acquire the assets of bankrupt crypto lender Voyager Digital.
The appeal filed by the US Trustee’s Office, a DOJ division in charge of managing bankruptcies, came just one day after bankruptcy court’s Judge Michael Wiles approved the deal following a controversial four-day marathon hearing.
Regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and several state authorities have strongly opposed the proposed transaction. The SEC filed an objection to the purchase of Voyager last month, claiming that Binance.US is breaching federal securities laws by operating an unregistered stock exchange in the United States.
But Judge Wiles accepted Voyager’s restructuring plan, overruling the “vague” opposition to the Binance acquisition by the SEC. Binance has agreed to pay $20 million in cash to Voyager, and to take on crypto assets deposited by Voyager customers. According to Voyager, the clients’ crypto assets, valued at $1.3 billion in February, make up the majority of the deal’s valuation.
“Things have to be done. We have creditors who are waiting and who in the midst of all of this uncertainty have no access to property in which they’ve invested, in some cases, their life savings, so we have to take some kind of action,” Wiles said. “We have to do something.”
Voyager’s clients will receive an estimated 73% recovery under the planned sale to Binance.US. The deal, which was put together after FTX, Voyager’s previous top bidder, declared bankruptcy in November, was approved by 97% of Voyager’s creditors.
Wiles’ acceptance of Voyager’s plan permits it to begin moving user accounts to Binance, although Voyager has the option to back out of the transaction. Last Friday, its financial advisors testified in court that the business will need up to four weeks to review additional questions concerning Binance.US’s commitment to the purchase, Binance.US’s regulatory compliance, and the security of Binance.US client deposits.
The purchase is also being investigated by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which is looking into the national security dangers linked with foreign investment in Voyager.
If Voyager decides not to proceed with its current proposal to sell itself to Binance.US, or if regulators successfully block the sale, the bankrupt lender could liquidate itself, which would likely result in substantially lower rewards for creditors.
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