Binance CEO pleads guilty

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Changpeng Zhao, the founder and CEO of Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, has pleaded guilty to violating U.S. anti-money laundering requirements and has resigned from his position. This comes as part of a $4 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the Department of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The charges against Binance and Zhao include violations related to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), failure to register as a money transmitting business, and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). As part of the plea agreement, Binance has agreed to forfeit $2.5 billion and to pay a criminal fine of $1.8 billion, totaling a financial penalty of $4.3 billion. Binance has also agreed to retain an independent compliance monitor for three years and to enhance their anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance programs. Zhao has agreed to pay a $50 million fine and is barred from any future involvement in Binance’s business. The charges against Binance and Zhao stem from the company's prioritization of growth and profits over compliance with U.S. law, which allowed money to flow to terrorists, cybercriminals, and child abusers through its platform. The settlement resolves the Justice Department’s investigation into Binance's violations, marking a significant milestone for the virtual currency industry. The penalties and monitorship aim to ensure compliance with U.S. law and regulations.
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