Binance CEO resigns, pleads guilty – WSJ

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Changpeng Zhao has stepped down as head of the world’s top crypto exchange in a plea agreement with prosecutors

Binance Holdings Ltd. and its Chief Executive Officer Changpeng Zhao are set to plead guilty to criminal and civil charges in a deal brokered with the Justice Department on Tuesday, according to the Wall Street Journal.

As part of the settlement, Zhao will step down from his position and acknowledge violations of anti-money laundering requirements. The agreement spans multiple regulatory bodies, including the Treasury Department and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

This resolution enables Binance to maintain its operations, addressing a spectrum of allegations ranging from money laundering to bank fraud and sanctions violations. The development unfolds against a backdrop of increased scrutiny on the cryptocurrency industry by the Justice Department, governmental entities, and lawmakers.

Binance Coin (BNB), the cryptocurrency associated with the Binance ecosystem, witnessed a significant decline of more than 8% in response to news of the imminent settlement. The digital asset had achieved a five-month peak earlier in the day, fueled by anticipations that the Department of Justice (DOJ) would formally announce a deal with the exchange.

For much of this year, Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has faced escalating scrutiny from US authorities, culminating in a criminal investigation targeting both the exchange and its CEO.

The reported settlement terms indicate that Zhao is expected to pay fines totaling $4.3 billion, covering settlements for civil allegations raised by regulatory authorities, as disclosed by the Wall Street Journal.

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