By Kanishka Singh
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday asked a federal court to issue a temporary restraining order to freeze the U.S. assets of cryptocurrency exchange Binance.
The motion, in a filing to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, comes a day after U.S. regulators sued Binance and its CEO Changpeng Zhao for allegedly operating a "web of deception," piling further pressure on the world's biggest cryptocurrency exchange.
In the motion, the SEC accused Binance of years of violative conduct, including "disregard" for U.S. laws and "evasion of regulatory oversight."
The holding company of Binance is based in the Cayman Islands. Binance.US is its U.S. affiliate. Binance said the SEC's motion only concerned Binance.US.
After the SEC filed the motion, Binance.US said its user assets would remain safe and the platform would continue normal deposit and withdrawal operations. It added it would defend itself in court and called the SEC's step "unwarranted."
The SEC alleged on Monday Binance artificially inflated its trading volumes, diverted customer funds, failed to restrict U.S. customers from its platform and misled investors about its market surveillance controls. Binance is also facing U.S. legal actions by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Justice Department.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh; editing by Tim Ahmann and Richard Chang)