Who needs an entire article about the SEC filing 13 charges against crypto exchange Binance and its founder Changpeng Zhao when the SEC is cranking out tweets like this?
Today we charged Binance Holdings Ltd. (Binance); U.S.-based affiliate, BAM Trading Services Inc., which, together with Binance, operates https://t.co/swcxioZKVP; and their founder, Changpeng Zhao, with a variety of securities law violations.https://t.co/H1wgGgR5ir pic.twitter.com/IWTb7Et86H
— U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (@SECGov) June 5, 2023
The SEC’s complaint [PDF], filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleges that, since at least July 2017, Binance.com and Binance.US, while controlled by Zhao, operated as exchanges, brokers, dealers, and clearing agencies and earned at least $11.6 billion in revenue from, among other things, transaction fees from U.S. customers. The SEC’s complaint alleges that (1) with respect to Binance.com, Binance should have registered as an exchange, broker-dealer, and clearing agency; (2) with respect to Binance.US, Binance and BAM Trading should have registered as an exchange and as clearing agencies; and (3) BAM Trading should have registered as a broker-dealer. The SEC also alleges that Zhao is liable as a control person for Binance’s and BAM Trading’s respective registration violations.
“Through thirteen charges, we allege that Zhao and Binance entities engaged in an extensive web of deception, conflicts of interest, lack of disclosure, and calculated evasion of the law,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler. “As alleged, Zhao and Binance misled investors about their risk controls and corrupted trading volumes while actively concealing who was operating the platform, the manipulative trading of its affiliated market maker, and even where and with whom investor funds and crypto assets were custodied. They attempted to evade U.S. securities laws by announcing sham controls that they disregarded behind the scenes so that they could keep high-value U.S. customers on their platforms. The public should beware of investing any of their hard-earned assets with or on these unlawful platforms.”
“We allege that Zhao and the Binance entities not only knew the rules of the road, but they also consciously chose to evade them and put their customers and investors at risk – all in an effort to maximize their own profits,” said Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “By engaging in multiple unregistered offerings and also failing to register while at the same time combining the functions of exchanges, brokers, dealers, and clearing agencies, the Binance platforms under Zhao’s control imposed outsized risks and conflicts of interest on investors. Those risks and conflicts are only heightened by the Binance platforms’ lack of transparency, reliance on related-party transactions, and lies about controls to prevent manipulative trading. Despite their years-long efforts to not ‘be held accountable,’ today’s complaint begins the process of doing so.”
SEC Files 13 Charges Against Binance Entities and Founder Changpeng Zhao [SEC]