An investigative report has suggested that major cryptocurrency exchange Binance was behind the transfer of roughly $400 million in funds from a Binance.US account to a trading firm managed by CEO Changpeng Zhao.
According to a Feb. 16 Reuters report, an investigation of Binance’s banking records and company messages showed that more than $400 million was sent in a series of transactions in 2021 from an account controlled by Binance.US to trading firm Merit Peak. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission reportedly launched a probe into potential connections between Binance.US and the same trading firm in February 2022.
Reuters reported that a Binance.US spokesperson said Merit Peak was “neither trading nor providing any kind of services on the Binance.US platform” and that only the exchange’s employees had access to its bank accounts. Funds were stored by Binance.US doing business as BAM Trading Services at Silvergate Bank.
The report dropped amid Binance publishing a blog post titled “Building Trust in the Crypto Ecosystem,” in which the exchange says customer assets “should only be used in the ways that the customers have explicitly authorized.” Binance pushed back against a similar Reuters report from June 2022 alleging the exchange facilitated billions of dollars worth of money laundering, claiming the news outlet was spreading disinformation.
There have been many attempts to draw parallels between https://t.co/AZwoBOgsqS and fraudulent exchanges that have gone bankrupt. The real facts speak for themselves: there is no comparison.— Binance.US (@BinanceUS) February 16, 2023
Our leadership team is staffed with former DOJ, SEC, FBI, and NYFed employees who are… https://t.co/5etl0z3ZUX
Related: Binance readies checkbook for potential fines from US regulators: Report
Launched in 2019, Binance.US operates as a separate entity from Binance, which is largely not available to United States users due to local regulations. Authorities with the New York Department of Financial Services have also reportedly targeted Binance’s reserves, which led to a crackdown on its BUSD (BUSD) stablecoin.
Update (Feb. 17 at 2:23 PM UTC): This article was updated to include a Feb. 16 tweet from Binance.US.