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SEC Denied Immediate Access to Binance.US Software in Legal Battle

In a recent development, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) faced a setback in its ongoing legal battle with Binance.US, as a judge declined the SEC’s request for immediate access to the cryptocurrency exchange’s software. The decision was made during a hearing held on September 18, where Judge Faruqui expressed his reluctance to grant the SEC’s motion to compel Binance to provide detailed information and make its executives more accessible for depositions.

The dispute between the SEC and Binance has escalated over the past week, with the SEC alleging that Binance.US was uncooperative in the investigation. The SEC had sued Binance.US, along with its international affiliate Binance Holdings Ltd and CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, on June 5, accusing them of involvement in the sale of unregistered securities.

During the hearing, Judge Faruqui suggested that the SEC should refine its requests for discovery and engage with a broader range of witnesses rather than immediately gaining access to Binance.US’s software. This decision marks a partial setback for the SEC’s efforts to obtain critical information in its case against the cryptocurrency exchange.

The SEC has repeatedly claimed that it struggled to obtain information from Binance.US, pointing out that Binance’s holding company, BAM Trading, had provided only 220 documents during the discovery process. Many of these documents were described as “unintelligible screenshots and documents without dates or signatures,” according to the SEC. Furthermore, BAM Trading had been hesitant to make essential witnesses available for deposition, agreeing to only four depositions of witnesses it deemed appropriate.

Binance, on the other hand, has argued that the SEC’s requests for discovery were “unduly burdensome.” The cryptocurrency exchange maintained that it was cooperating with the SEC, despite the regulator’s allegations to the contrary, and even agreed to a consent order on discovery related to the SEC’s case against it for unregistered securities operations and other allegations.

Central to the SEC’s concerns is the custody of customer assets on Binance.US. The regulator insists on a more thorough investigation of Binance.US to uncover potential connections to the global arm of the exchange. While the judge’s decision represents a hurdle for the SEC, the legal battle between the regulator and Binance is far from over, as both parties continue to grapple over the extent of cooperation and access to critical information in this high-stakes crypto case.

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