The SEC hit Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, and its CEO Changepng Zhao with 13 charges in a suit on Monday, including allegations of lying to regulators about its operations.
Much of the SEC’s suit deals with how Binance and its Binance.US subsidiary operated, with the latter falling under the umbrella of BAM Trading. It also touches on securities violations, including details on several crypto tokens that it considers to be securities, and how the Binance team worked to evade U.S. securities law and regulatory oversight.
Binance and BAM Trading were under Zhao’s leadership and control and operated without registering with the SEC, the agency alleges. “Zhao and Binance created BAM Management and BAM Trading in the United States and claimed publicly that these entities independently controlled the operation of the Binance.US platform.”
However, behind the scenes, according to the suit, Zhao and Binance were allegedly “intimately involved” in directing the trading entity’s business operations and providing crypto-related services to the Binance.US platform, which claims it’s an independent exchange.
The charges also included misleading investors about Binance’s systems to detect and control manipulative trading; regulators say that the exchange didn’t take proper steps to restrict U.S.-based investors from accessing its platform. The SEC also alleges that cryptocurrency BNB and stablecoin BUSD are securities.
“The new complaint from the SEC against Binance is a laundry list of charges, laying out exactly the same claims that many in Bitcoin and crypto have made against Changpeng Zhao and his companies for many years,” Cory Klippsten, CEO of Swan Bitcoin, told TechCrunch+. “These practices of Binance have essentially been open secrets, so no one who operates in the space will be surprised by any of the charges.”