Crypto exchange Binance suspends US deposits after government suit

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The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance said late Thursday it was halting US dollar deposits and encouraged clients to withdraw their dollars by early next week, following charges leveled by the government.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday charged the crypto giant with securities law violations that it said amounted to “an extensive web of deception” and “calculated evasion of the law.”

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Binance is alleged to have permitted US residents to trade, even though the platform is not registered in the United States as a securities exchange. The case also alleges the firm misused customer funds.

As of Thursday, “we are suspending USD deposits and notifying customers that our banking partners are preparing to pause fiat (USD) withdrawal channels as early as June 13,” Binance.US said on Twitter.

“We are taking these proactive steps as we -- for a time -- transition to a crypto-only exchange,” it added.

“We encourage customers to withdraw their USD via bank transfer... by June 13,” the exchange said in a note addressed to clients.

The SEC filed a civil complaint listing 13 charges involving platforms and other investment entities controlled by Binance founder Changpeng Zhao.

The commission on Tuesday asked the courts to freeze assets affiliated with the company and Zhao, who was once seen as the archrival of disgraced crypto tycoon Sam Bankman-Fried.

Binance has criticized the SEC’s actions, saying Thursday that it “will continue to vigorously defend ourselves, our customers, and industry against the meritless attacks of the SEC.”

The case comes on the heels of charges in March against Binance by another US regulator, the Commodities Futures and Exchange Commission.

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