Binance is facing legal action by the US securities regulator © Getty Images / Justin Sullivan / Equipa

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has asked a federal court to issue a temporary restraining order to freeze the US assets of cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing a filing in a Washington DC federal court.

The motion comes a day after the regulator sued Binance and its CEO Changpeng Zhao on 13 charges, alleging that “Zhao and Binance entities engaged in an extensive web of deception, conflicts of interest, lack of disclosure, and calculated evasion of the law,” according to the SEC press release. The charges apply to Binance Holdings Ltd. and its affiliate firm Binance.US.

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, said in a statement that it was “disappointed” and “disheartened” by the lawsuit and warned that the SEC’s actions “undermine America’s role as a global hub for financial innovation and leadership.”

“Any allegations that user assets on the Binance.US platform have ever been at risk are simply wrong,” the company added.

Biggest crypto exchange forced out of Canada Biggest crypto exchange forced out of Canada

This comes as part of a wider crackdown on crypto exchanges in the US. Also on Tuesday, the SEC, whose primary purpose is to enforce the law against financial market manipulation, sued major domestic cryptocurrency platform, Coinbase, accusing it of operating illegally because it had failed to first register with the regulator.

Crypto trading platforms have been facing increased scrutiny from regulators since last year’s collapse of the FTX exchange, which triggered investor panic and wiped out billions from the crypto industry’s market value. Lawmakers have been calling for tighter regulations on the industry and greater transparency about how crypto companies operate and how they handle customer funds.

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