Binance CEO Pleads Guilty, Now Forced To Leave Company

November 21, 2023 8:05 pm Comments

Cryptocurrency holders who hold their money on Binance quickly withdrew their holdings after Binance CEO Chanpeng Zhao pled guilty to money laundering.

Zhao pled guilty to violating U.S. anti-money laundering requirements, despite the fact that Binance’s main exchange was never based in the United States.

In his guilty plea, Zhao promised to step down as Binance’s CEO and pay a $200 million dollar fine.

Binance as a company agreed to pay over $4 billion in fines.

Here’s what CNN reported:

Billionaire Changpeng Zhao and leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance pleaded guilty on Tuesday to federal charges in a watershed moment designed to bring order to the often-lawless crypto industry.

As part of a coordinated settlement across the federal government, Binance has agreed to pay more than $4 billion in fines and other penalties. Zhao, one of the most powerful figures in crypto, has agreed to step down as CEO from the exchange that he founded, and he will pay $200 million in fines.

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, admitted to engaging in anti-money laundering, unlicensed money transmitting and sanctions violations.

US officials described this as the biggest-ever corporate resolution that includes criminal charges for an executive.

Following a years-long investigation, authorities allege Binance allowed bad actors to freely transact on the platform, enabling everything from child sex abuse and narcotics to terrorist financing for ISIS, Al Qaeda and Hamas’s Al-Qassam Brigades.

Zhao, who has amassed a fortune estimated at more than $23 billion, pled guilty to failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program.

Per AP:

The U.S. government dealt a massive blow to Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, which agreed to pay a roughly $4 billion settlement Tuesday as its founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao pleaded guilty to a felony related to his failure to prevent money laundering on the platform.

Zhao stepped down as the company’s chief executive and Binance admitted to violations of the Bank Secrecy Act and apparent violations of sanctions programs, including its failure to implement reporting programs for suspicious transactions.

“Using new technology to break the law does not make you a disruptor, it makes you a criminal,” said U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, who called the settlement one of the largest corporate penalties in the nation’s history.

As part of the settlement agreement, the U.S. Treasury said Binance will be subject to five years of monitoring and “significant compliance undertakings, including to ensure Binance’s complete exit from the United States.” Binance is a Cayman Islands limited liability company.

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