SEC’s About-Face: Documents in Binance.US Case No Longer Sealed or Redacted

In a recent development, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has initiated the process of unsealing and revealing previously inaccessible documents in its ongoing case against Binance, a prominent cryptocurrency exchange. These documents, which had been sealed or redacted at the SEC’s request, are now set to be exposed to scrutiny, with the SEC itself requesting their unsealing.

The decision to unseal these documents was authorized by District of Columbia District Court Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui through an order issued on September 15. This order pertains to a total of 18 documents that had been sealed and another nine that had been partially sealed or redacted. Notably, these documents were originally filed under docket number 102 on August 28, prompting speculation at the time regarding their connection to an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department into Binance’s activities.

Interested parties, including Binance and any nonparties who assert confidentiality designations over documents related to the SEC’s Motion to Compel, will have a seven-day window to make arguments against the unsealing. Subsequently, the SEC will also have seven days to respond to these claims.

Among the partially sealed documents, totaling 117 pages, are a variety of materials, including internal documents from Binance.US, emails, and SEC court filings. Notably, these filings encompass the memorandum concerning Binance.US’ compliance with SEC discovery efforts, which was submitted on September 14.

It’s worth noting that the list of documents specified in Judge Faruqui’s order does not encompass all the sealed documents associated with the case. A proposed order filed by BAM, the holding company of Binance.US, on September 11, as well as the SEC’s opposition document and eight accompanying exhibits, were filed under seal and are not explicitly addressed in the recent unsealing order.

The SEC’s legal action against Binance.US, along with Binance itself and its CEO Changpeng Zhao, was initiated in June and centers on allegations of unregistered securities operations and other alleged improprieties, including wash sales. In August, Binance.US had sought a protective order against the SEC in response to the ongoing legal proceedings.

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