CFTC gets court approval in its settlement against Binance

In this post:

  • The CFTC has announced that it has been granted court approval in its settlement against Binance.
  • Post-settlement landscape and industry impact.

In a significant legal development, a U.S. court has issued an order against Binance, a prominent cryptocurrency exchange, and its former CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao. This court order mandates Binance to pay $2.7 billion, with CZ personally responsible for a $150 million payment to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The CFTC, in a statement released on December 18, confirmed that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois had given its approval to the settlement.

CFTC to get $2.7 billion from Binance and CZ

This settlement stems from an enforcement action initiated by the CFTC in November, accusing Zhao and Binance of violating the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations. The court’s decision outlines specific penalties: CZ is required to pay a $150 million civil monetary penalty, while Binance must disgorge $1.35 billion of ill-gotten transaction fees and pay an additional $1.35 billion penalty to the CFTC. The resolution marks the conclusion of a protracted legal battle initiated by the CFTC against CZ and Binance.

The agency initially filed a lawsuit on March 27, alleging that the executive and the exchange evaded federal law and operated an illegal derivatives exchange. As part of the settlement, CZ agreed to step down from his role as CEO of Binance on November 21. This agreement was part of a broader settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Treasury Department, and the CFTC. On the same day, Zhao pleaded guilty to various civil charges and one criminal charge related to Anti-Money Laundering laws.

A subsequent order on December 7 mandated CZ to remain in the U.S. until his sentencing date on February 23, 2024. He faces a potential prison term of up to 18 months on money laundering charges and has committed not to appeal any sentence within that range. Beyond the financial penalties, both CZ and Binance agreed to implement additional measures to ensure compliance. This includes reinforcing Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures on the exchange and establishing a formalized corporate governance structure.

Post-settlement landscape and industry impact

The latter involves the formation of a board of directors with independent members, a compliance committee, and an audit committee. Additionally, the court issued a separate order directing Binance’s former chief compliance officer, Samuel Lim, to pay a $1.5 million civil monetary penalty. Lim was implicated in “aiding and abetting Binance’s violations and engaging in activities outside of the U.S. to willfully evade or attempt to evade U.S. law.” Following CZ’s departure, Richard Teng assumed the role of CEO at Binance.

In an interview on December 5, Teng emphasized a shift in Binance’s approach, describing the exchange as “totally different” and assuring investors that compliance gaps were now a thing of the past. Teng highlighted Binance’s commitment to stringent compliance with regulatory agencies worldwide. This legal saga has compelled Binance to make significant adjustments to its services in various jurisdictions over the past 18 months. The exchange has either terminated or substantially modified its core services in countries such as the Netherlands, Cyprus, Australia, and Canada.

As the cryptocurrency landscape continues to evolve, this case serves as a notable example of regulatory scrutiny impacting major players in the industry. Binance’s willingness to settle and implement enhanced compliance measures reflects a broader trend of increased regulatory oversight within the cryptocurrency space. This episode underscores the importance of adapting to regulatory expectations for sustainable operations in the ever-changing crypto environment.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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