Judge Grants SEC Motion In Binance Lawsuit To Unseal Key Documents

Judge Grants SEC Motion In Binance Lawsuit To Unseal Key Documents

According to court filings, a district judge gave approval to a motion filed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in its lawsuit against Binance US for unsealing documents.

The regulator had previously filed the information under seal back in August, which means that access had only been limited to lawyers involved in the lawsuit.

The motion

But, on Thursday, the SEC submitted a motion to unseal several documents, which include exhibits for a declaration made by Jennifer Farer, the SEC Trial Counsel.

The agency stated that a number of parties that were involved in the lawsuit were in agreement about making the documents public.

This approval comes after the securities regulator had made accusations of ‘lack of transparency’ against Binance US and the company saw a number of its executives resign from their positions.

On Friday, Brian Schroder, the CEO of Binance US, also announced his resignation. Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, acknowledged these departures.

He stated that Schroder had accomplished a lot and deserved a break and Norman Reed, the Chief Legal Officer of Binance US, was the right person to lead the exchange forward.

The lawsuit

The SEC had filed the lawsuit against Binance back in June in which the American subsidiary of the exchange had been accused of securities law violations in 13 charges.

These included running an unregistered securities exchange. The SEC had also asserted in its initial complaint that customer funds worth billions of dollars had also been commingled.

It said that the funds had been commingled with that of an entity owned by Zhao named Merit Peak. A day after filing the lawsuit, the agency had also sought an emergency order to freeze Binance US assets.

This was to ensure the safety of customer funds. But, the freeze had been prevented with an agreement struck between the company and the SEC in return for greater oversight and transparency.

Further details

One of the deal’s stipulations was that the funds cannot be accessed by Zhao himself, or any entity that he owns.

On Thursday, in one of its court filings, the SEC also accused BAM, the holding company of Binance US, of providing just 220 documents for its investigation.

The regulator said that these included ‘unintelligible screenshots’, which could not ensure that the assets of the company were not at the mercy of Zhao or Binance.

It said that control over the crypto assets of BAM seems to be in the hands of a wallet custody software service called Ceffu, which is owned by Binance Holdings Ltd, the company’s international entity.

In a separate filing, a footnote claimed that more than 6,500 documents have been produced by FGMK, the external auditor of BAM, which is primarily concerned with the control and custody of the company’s assets.

The agency stated that it had learned of Ceffu’s role in the custody of customer assets after a letter had been sent to the SEC by BAM’s auditor, which happened in July 2023.