Binance and its CEO gear up to fight CFTC lawsuit

Binance and its hardheaded CEO, Changpeng Zhao, are preparing to go toe-to-toe with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

A young man fighting an eagle

In the high-stakes world of cryptocurrency, Binance, the titan of crypto exchanges, along with its charismatic CEO, Changpeng "CZ" Zhao, and former compliance chief, Samuel Lim, are gearing up to strike back against a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in March. The trio is set to file two separate motions to dismiss the lawsuit, according to a recent court filling.

Binance is also seeking to supersize its brief from the standard 15-page limit to a whopping 50 pages. The reason? The complexity of the CFTC's allegations and the multitude of arguments Binance plans to present in its defense.

The CFTC's lawsuit, filed in March, accuses Binance and Zhao of failing to properly register with the regulator. Despite Binance's efforts to block U.S. residents from its platform, the CFTC alleges that the exchange knowingly facilitated transactions in various cryptocurrencies for U.S. residents since at least 2019, in direct violation of U.S. laws.

The regulator didn't mince words, labeling Binance's compliance process a "sham" and accusing it of deliberately conducting its operations outside the U.S. and obscuring the location of its headquarters to sidestep U.S. regulations.

Adding to Binance's legal woes, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also sued Binance and Zhao in June, alleging the sale of unregistered securities, allowing U.S. customers to use its global platform, and misuse of customer funds by Zhao.

In a message that could be straight out of a Hollywood script, Binance's compliance chief in 2018, believed to be Lim, allegedly stated in a message to another compliance officer that "we are operating as a fking unlicensed securities exchange in the USA bro."

Binance is also reportedly under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for allegedly allowing Russians to use its platform in violation of U.S. sanctions.