Binance, CEO Zhao File Motion to Dismiss US CFTC Complaint

Binance and its CEO Changpeng Zhao have filed a motion to dismiss a complaint against the cryptocurrency exchange by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the company said in a court filing on Thursday.

The CFTC sued Binance, Zhao and former Chief Compliance Officer Samuel Lim in March, alleging they violated the Commodity Exchange Act and certain related federal regulations, and for operating what the regulator said was an “illegal” exchange and a “sham” compliance program.

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, said the CFTC’s case should be dismissed because it sought to regulate foreign individuals and corporations that reside and operate outside the United States.

It also quoted a 2007 ruling that stated: “United States law governs domestically but does not rule the world.”

The holding company of Binance is based in the Cayman Islands, while CEO Zhao is a Canadian citizen.

The CFTC’s complaint said that from at least July 2019, Binance “offered and executed commodity derivatives transactions on behalf of US persons” in violation of US laws.

In its reply, Binance said that by June 2019, had begun implementing steps to restrict and off-board potential US users and ensure that new users were not US persons.

“Importantly, did not begin to offer the alleged digital asset derivative products until July 2019 and later —after it began to restrict and off-board potential US users,” the company said.

Lim filed a separate motion to dismiss the CFTC claims against him.

The CFTC, which is responsible for the oversight of commodities and derivatives markets, including Bitcoin, declined to comment on the filing.

Binance and Zhao were also sued by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in June for allegedly operating a “web of deception,” listing 13 charges against Binance, Zhao and the operator of its purportedly independent US exchange.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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