SEC requests asset freeze for Binance.US

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) wasted no time in escalating its legal battle against Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. Just one day after filing a comprehensive 136-page complaint, the SEC has now motioned for a temporary restraining order to freeze the assets connected to Binance’s American subsidiary.

On Monday, the SEC hit Binance and its CEO Changpeng Zhao with 13 charges, accusing them of orchestrating an intricate network of deceit, conflicts of interest, and deliberate evasions of the law. Gary Gensler, the head of the federal agency, pulled no punches in describing the alleged wrongdoing.

Having initiated the lawsuit, the regulator swiftly followed up by submitting a fresh motion on Tuesday, seeking an order from the District of Columbia court to freeze the assets of BAM Management US Holdings and BAM Trading Services. These two entities serve as the holding and operating companies for Binance’s U.S. operations.

The SEC’s filing explicitly outlined its request: “Plaintiff U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (‘SEC’) requests that this Court issue a temporary restraining order: freezing assets (both known and unknown) of Defendant BAM Management US Holdings Inc. (‘BAM Management’) and BAM Trading Services Inc. (‘BAM Trading’) (collectively, ‘BAM’).”

In addition to the asset freeze, the SEC sought further remedies, particularly pertaining to the custody and control of customer assets held by Binance.US. The regulator argued that swift court action was crucial to safeguarding the interests of the trading platform’s customers.

“The SEC respectfully submits that this relief is necessary on an expedited basis to ensure the safety of customer assets and prevent the dissipation of available assets for any judgment given the Defendants’ years of violative conduct, disregard of the laws of the United States, evasion of regulatory oversight, and open questions about various financial transfers and the custody and control of Customer Assets—including by Defendants who claim they are not subject to the Court’s jurisdiction.”

The SEC’s legal manoeuvres against Binance highlight the agency’s determination to address what it perceives as rampant regulatory non-compliance in the cryptocurrency industry. As the case unfolds, industry observers eagerly await further developments, with potential ramifications for Binance’s operations in the United States.