By Tom Wilson, Rae Wee and Hannah Lang
(Reuters) -Investors have pulled around $1.43 billion from the crypto exchange Binance and its U.S. affiliate as of 11 a.m. ET (1500 GMT) on Tuesday, data firm Nansen said, a day after a top U.S. regulator sued both exchanges.
Binance saw net outflows of $1.34 billion of crypto tokens on the ethereum blockchain, with its U.S. affiliate, Binance.US, registering net outflows of $70.8 million, Nansen tweeted.
Neither exchange immediately responded to a request for comment.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday sued Binance, its CEO Changpeng Zhao and the operator of Binance.US over what it called a “web of deception” to evade U.S. laws.
The SEC alleged in 13 charges that 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.
The lawsuit, which cited a number of practices first reported by Reuters in a series of investigations into the exchange, marks the most significant step against a crypto company by the SEC in its sweeping crackdown on the industry this year.
In statements on Monday, Binance said it had been cooperating with the SEC’s probes and had “worked hard to answer their questions and address their concerns”, including by trying to reach a negotiated settlement. “We intend to defend our platform vigorously,” it said in a blog.
Bitcoin steadied after falling more than 5% yesterday, its worst daily decline since April 19. The world’s biggest cryptocurrency was last at $26,300, up 3.85% on the day.
“It’s another blow to the crypto industry and the crypto exchanges of the world,” said Tony Sycamore, market analyst at IG Markets, of the SEC suit.
Binance’s BNB cryptocurrency, the world’s fourth-largest, was up 1.63% to $282.19, after a 9.2% plunge on Monday, its worst daily fall since November.
The SEC complaint is the latest in a series of legal headaches for Binance. The company was sued by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in March for operating what it alleged were an “illegal” exchange and a “sham” compliance program.
Zhao said the CFTC claims were an “incomplete recitation of facts.”
(Reporting by Tom Wilson in London; Rae Wee and Ankur Banerjee in Singapore; Kevin Buckland in Tokyo; and Hannah Lang in Washington; Editing by Sonali Paul, Tom Hogue, Nick Zieminski and Louise Heavens)
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