Binance pleads guilty to counts of money laundering and consents to the $4.2 billion fine
Cryptocurrency exchange Binance, and its CEO, Zhao Changpeng pleaded guilty to charges filed by the US Justice Department. The regulators have accused Binance of facilitating illegal transactions and violating laws related to money laundering and terrorist financing
Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, and their former CEO, Zhao Changpeng, have pleaded guilty to multiple charges filed by the US Justice Department. Binance was criminally charged with breaking sanctions and money-transmitting laws.
As part of the guilty plea, Zhao has agreed to pay a $50 million fine and will be banned from any involvement in the business. Meanwhile, Binance will plead guilty, accept the appointment of a monitor, and pay a criminal fine of nearly $1.81 billion, along with a $2.51 billion order of forfeiture, to settle three criminal charges. According to the company sources, effective immediately, Richard Teng, Binance’s now former Global Head of Regional Markets, succeeds Zhao Changpeng as CEO.
This comes as a conclusion of the ongoing SEC investigation of Binance. The US Attorney General Merrick Garland stated that the combined $4.3 billion in fines represents one of the largest penalties ever obtained by the Justice Department in a criminal case. He identified millions of transactions between US users and individuals in countries under US sanctions, as well as transactions involving terrorist groups such as ISIS.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen revealed that company had been under investigation by US financial regulators for over three years. The investigation revealed consistent and egregious violations of US law. Yellen issued a warning to the cryptocurrency industry, stating that cryptocurrency exchanges and financial technology firms must adhere to the rules governing the US financial system, or face government action.
The US government’s action against Binance and Zhao underscores its commitment to cracking down on illegal activities and ensuring compliance with regulations within the cryptocurrency industry. The fines serve as a stern warning to other virtual currency exchanges that they must adhere to the rules or face consequences. Anyhow, according to the experts, the Binance will not face a significant drawback from the international markets due to this settlement agreement.