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Seattle court approves guilty plea of ex-Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao

TL;DR

  • Binance Holdings and its former CEO Changpeng Zhao pleaded guilty to U.S. anti-money laundering and sanctions law violations, agreeing to a $4.3 billion settlement.
  • Changpeng Zhao resigned as CEO following the guilty plea, as part of the settlement with U.S. authorities.

Binance Holdings and its former chief, Changpeng Zhao, have reached a resolution with U.S. authorities. Judge Richard Jones approved the plea agreements, as revealed in recent court documents in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle. This conclusion follows Binance’s admission of guilt for contravening U.S. anti-money laundering and sanctions regulations in November. The cryptocurrency exchange agreed to a substantial payment exceeding $4.3 billion, marking a pivotal moment in the intersection of cryptocurrency operations and U.S. legal standards.

Details of Binance’s legal settlement

Binance, known for operating the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance.com, faced allegations under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), failing to register as a money transmitter, and violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). The settlement with the Department of Justice involves a guilty plea and a resolution to pay over $4 billion. Changpeng Zhao, also a Canadian citizen, pleaded guilty to the charge of not implementing an adequate anti-money laundering program as mandated by the BSA. This admission led to his resignation as CEO. 

Last week, Zhao relinquished his position as the board of directors chairman for Binance.US, effectively eliminating any influence he held over the platform’s governance. This move also diminished his interest in the U.S. branch of the exchange to a purely economic one.

CZ and Binance 

The court documents highlight Binance’s focus on rapid growth and profit, often at the expense of complying with U.S. laws. Since its inception in 2017, the crypto exchange quickly rose to prominence, largely fueled by its substantial U.S. customer base. Due to its operations involving U.S. customers, Binance was obligated to register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) as a money services business. Moreover, it was required to establish an effective anti-money laundering program to prevent its use in money laundering activities.

Moreover, there have been recent updates on Zhao’s activities on X following his resignation as Binance CEO and admission of guilt. In the past week, he has shared details about his lunch, reposted a message from the new CEO of the crypto exchange, Richard Teng, and discussed taking risks. In one of his posts, Zhao mentioned that 10 years ago, he quit his job, sold his house, and invested in Bitcoin, acknowledging that not everyone should follow the same path. He emphasized the importance of understanding one’s own risk profile and learning risk management to make informed decisions.

Nonetheless, Binance’s recent court case underscores the increasing scrutiny and regulatory pressure facing the cryptocurrency industry, particularly concerning compliance with anti-money laundering standards and U.S. laws.

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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Damilola Lawrence

Damilola is a crypto enthusiast, content writer, and journalist. When he is not writing, he spends most of his time reading and keeping tabs on exciting projects in the blockchain space. He also studies the ramifications of Web3 and blockchain development to have a stake in the future economy.

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