US judge declines SEC's request for immediate access to Binance ...


In the latest update on the ongoing legal tussle between the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Binance.US, a US judge has rejected the SEC's immediate request for access to Binance.US's software and other documentation. The decision was made during a hearing held on Monday, marking a partial setback for the SEC in its pursuit of a comprehensive investigation into the cryptocurrency exchange.


The SEC, which initiated legal action against Binance.US on June 5, 2023, alleges that the exchange was involved in the sale of unregistered securities. The regulator has also raised concerns about the custody of customer assets at Binance.US and is seeking to uncover potential connections between Binance's American arm and its global affiliate, Binance Holdings Ltd, along with CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao.


However, during Monday's hearing, Judge Faruqui expressed reservations about allowing an inspection at this time. Instead, he suggested that the SEC should come up with more specific requests for discovery and engage with a broader range of witnesses. This move appears to strike a balance between the SEC's demands for transparency and Binance.US's concerns of being burdened with excessive information requests.


The SEC has accused Binance.US of noncooperation in the investigation, pointing out that Binance.US's holding company, BAM Trading, had only produced 220 documents during the discovery process. Many of these documents were described as "unintelligible screenshots and documents without dates or signatures." The regulator also noted that BAM Trading had been reluctant to provide essential witnesses for deposition.


On its part, Binance.US has characterized the SEC's repeated requests for discovery as "unduly burdensome." This ongoing dispute over cooperation has added complexity to an already contentious legal battle.


Today's decision by Judge Faruqui comes amidst ongoing scrutiny of Binance US. The exchange has been under intense scrutiny ever since the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) initiated a lawsuit against it. This situation led to a decline in trading volume and the departure of key executives from the company.


The SEC's request for an investigation into Binance US was denied earlier today by the court. The SEC’s argument hinged on the assertion that Ceffu, a custody platform, was, in reality, an entity associated with Binance and was used to transfer funds of US customers out of the country, thereby violating a prior agreement between Binance US and the SEC.


In response to these developments, Binance.US argued that the SEC's request was overly intrusive and burdensome. Ultimately, US District Judge Zia Faruqui rejected the SEC’s request for an inspection but required Binance US to furnish additional documentation while expressing doubts about the exchange’s ability to maintain control over its assets.


Source : / September 19, 2023


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