Merit Peak, an offshore trading company controlled by Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, received around $11 billion of client assets through a Seychelles-based firm set up to take customer deposits, a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing shows.
The SEC filing, which on Tuesday asked a U.S. court to freeze Binance’s U.S. assets, came a day after the SEC sued Binance, its billionaire CEO Zhao, and the operator of its U.S. affiliate exchange, for allegedly operating a “web of deception.”
In its 13 charges, the SEC alleged that Binance and Zhao used Merit Peak and Sigma Chain, another trading firm controlled by Zhao, to commingle corporate funds with client assets and use the monies “as they please.” This put customers’ assets at risk while Binance sought to “maximize” its profits, the SEC wrote in its civil complaint on Monday.
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