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Voyager-Binance.US Merger Hits Roadblock as Judge Sides with U.S. Government’s Antitrust Claims

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The U.S. Government's bid to prevent the $1 billion acquisition of Voyager Digital's assets by Binance.US

The U.S. Government’s bid to prevent the $1 billion acquisition of bankrupt crypto lender Voyager’s assets by Binance.US has received support from District Judge Jennifer Rearden, who said that the government has a “substantial case on the merits”.

Judge Rearden expressed her intention to settle the dispute as quickly as possible, given that delays could cost the estate up to $10 million per month.

Earlier this month, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michael Wiles approved the sale, but Judge Rearden has put that decision on hold while she considers objections from the U.S. Attorney that the contract effectively grants Voyager immunity by exculpating it from breaches of tax or securities law.

Judge Rearden noted that the government’s arguments have gone “entirely unrebutted” by Voyager and its creditors, who have not provided any authority for the proposition that a bankruptcy court can release criminal liability.

In her reasoning published on Friday, Judge Rearden appeared to be sympathetic to the government’s arguments, saying that “the Exculpation Clause appears to go further than the quasi-judicial immunity doctrine allows”. This suggests that Voyager may face difficulties in its attempt to complete the deal with Binance.US.

Binance’s U.S. arm bid for Voyager last year after FTX, the previous bidder, itself collapsed. However, this week saw Binance’s global entity and its CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, sued by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for offering unregistered crypto derivatives. Despite the lawsuit, Zhao said that the suit is an “incomplete recitation of facts”.

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