A sponsor of the Alpine Formula 1 team is being sued by a United States federal government watchdog over alleged financial impropriety.
Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, and CEO Changpeng Zhao are accused of a "blantant disregard" for federal law, according to a court filing by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
In the filing, seen by RacingNews365, it is alleged that Binance and Zhao were "enriching themselves by billions of US dollars while placing investors' assets at significant risk."
It is alleged that Binance were "commingling and diverting" investors' assets in ways "properly registered brokers and dealers would not be able to do" into a separate company owned by Zhao.
This entity called Sigma Chain, between September 2019 and June 2022, is claimed to have "engaged in wash trading that artificially inflated the trading volume of crypto assets securities on the Binance.US platform."
Binance.US was created after the main Binance website said it was quitting the US market in 2019. However, the SEC claims that Zhao instructed Binance to conceal the fact that high-spending US-based customers were still trading on Binance.com, despite not having the legal clearance to do so.
A Binance spokesperson explained the the SEC's complaint was "unjustified and should not be the subject of an SEC enforcement action" but that the allegations were being taken "seriously."
RacingNews365 has contacted Alpine for comment, with the team having signed a "multi-year partnership" in early 2022 with Binance to act as "Fan Token and esports partner."
A team spokesperson directed RacingNews365 towards the above statement from Binance regarding the allegations.
Balve Bains is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to ask if Mattia Binotto could really join Alpine, what Pirelli's new tyres are about and the latest on the Red Bull-Ford partnership!