A new chaos is brewing in the crypto world. This time, no less a market participant than the world’s largest crypto exchange Binance is at the centre of it. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken notice of the crypto exchange and most recently filed a lawsuit.
This causes excellent nervousness in the crypto scene, characterized by turmoil. The U.S. authorities accuse the platform of artificially increasing trading volumes, diverting customer funds and misleading investors about its market surveillance controls. Binance denies the SEC’s allegations.
LAST WEEK, the SEC charged the U.S. subsidiary of the world’s largest crypto trading platform with violating securities laws and seeking to freeze assets. Several people have also been fired since the investigation. These are around 50 employees, including people from Binance.US‘ legal, compliance and risk departments. Reuters reported this, citing sources who wished to remain anonymous.
On June 5, the SEC accused Binance and its founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao of creating the U.S. subsidiary as part of a “deception network” to evade securities laws to protect U.S. investors. Binance announced it would “vigorously” defend itself against these allegations. The SEC also sued Binance.US‘s operating company, BAM Trading, claiming it misled investors about “non-existent trading controls” over its platform. A day later, the SEC petitioned a federal court to freeze Binance.US‘ assets, including over $2.2 billion in cryptocurrencies and about $377 million in U.S. dollar bank accounts. The SEC raised concerns that the exchange could move those funds offshore.
Since the U.S. investigation, however, Binance has gone from strength to strength. Over the weekend, Binance announced that a cease-and-desist order had been issued against “Binance Nigeria Limited.” CEO Zhao announced in a tweet, calling the Nigerian company a “fraudulent enterprise.” Earlier in June, the Nigerian market regulator ordered Binance to stop doing business there because the local entity, “Binance Nigeria Limited,” solicited Nigerian investors through a website that was neither registered nor regulated. That made it illegal, it said.
Binance is also struggling in Nigeria and the U.S., however. Most recently, the crypto platform left the Netherlands. There, services were discontinued because the trading platform failed to obtain a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) license. The withdrawal from the Netherlands is effective immediately, according to which no new customers from the Netherlands can open an account with the crypto exchange. As of July 17, existing Dutch customers can only withdraw funds from the Binance platform. Currently, no more purchases, trades or deposits are possible. Binance is also planning to start from Cyprus, Canada and Australia.
The crypto exchange wants to prevent the freezing of U.S. assets at all costs, reports the portal BTC-Echo.de. The U.S. judge in charge, Amy Berman Jackson, called on the parties to reach an agreement. Also, to avert “significant consequences” for the market. However, a solution has not yet been reached.
Binance is also under investigation in France. The list of accusations is long and heavy. It is about the suspicion of money laundering, they say. In addition, the authorities accuse the company of “illegal operation of a trading platform with cryptocurrencies.” In addition, the platform is said to have failed to meet its obligations regarding KYC requirements. Investigations into this have been underway since February 2022. The French newspaper “Le Monde” reported on this. According to this, the investigations in France are to be supported by the French tax and customs authority SEJF.
According to the portal BTC-Echo.de, Binance’s business premises in France have already been searched by authorities. The company has reportedly been cooperative.