Five days after Binance and its CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao were sued by the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for alleged trading violations, a new $1 billion lawsuit was filed against the crypto exchange, CZ and three crypto influencers for promoting unregistered securities.
On March 31, the Moscowitz Law Firm and Boies Schiller Flexner filed the $1 billion lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida, claiming Binance’s involvement in trading unregistered securities and paying influencers for the unlawful promotion of such services, according to Fortune. While explaining the charges, the filing read:
“This is a classic example of a centralized exchange, which is promoting the sale of an unregistered security.”
In a previous lawsuit against Voyager, the law firm alleged that influencers promoting “unregistered securities” are liable for customer losses. Based on similar claims, Binance and the influencers — NBA Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler, and YouTubers Graham Stephan and Ben Armstrong (BitBoy Crypto) — are challenged with paying $1 billion for the damages caused to investors.
“We’ve been investigating these same unregistered security issues against Binance for over a year,” added the lawsuit. Promoters and the exchanges facilitating trades of such assets “would be liable” for the customer losses. In addition, the suit claims that investors have no obligation to prove they were influenced by the advertisements.
While three American citizens brought the case, the lawsuit alleges that “millions” of people could be eligible for damages. The law firm also plans to rope in more Binance influencers to the suit in future filings.
Meanwhile, CZ and other top Binance executives have been concealing the crypto exchange’s ties to China, claims a Financial Times report.
“We no longer publish our office addresses ... people in China can directly say that our office is not in China,” Zhao had reportedly said in a company message group in November 2017.
However, speaking to Cointelegraph, Binance confirmed that the company “does not operate in China nor do we have any technology, including servers or data, based in China,” adding:
“While we did have a customer service call center based in China to service global Mandarin speakers, those employees who wished to remain with the company were offered relocation assistance starting in 2021.”
According to Binance, its 8,000 full-time employees live across Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific.