Binance and boss Zhao set to plead guilty in US settlement

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Binance's Zhao has agreed to step down as CEO and plead guilty to violating anti-money laundering rules.

Binance and its chief executive, Changpeng Zhao, have agreed to plead guilty to criminal and civil charges as part of a settlement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ), according to a report

The Wall Street Journal reported that Zhao has agreed to step down as CEO of the crypto giant and plead guilty to violating anti-money laundering rules. 

Richard Teng is tipped as the top choice to succeed Zhao, Forbes reported.

The settlement, which is being negotiated between Binance and the DOJ, will allow the cryptocurrency exchange to continue to operate while resolving allegations of criminal wrongdoing, the report said.

The resolution would involve Binance paying a large penalty. On Monday, Bloomberg reported that the DOJ was seeking $4bn from the crypto exchange. 

Any resolution is likely to play a crucial role in investor sentiment toward crypto, which has taken a hit over a wave of government investigations and charges against firms and individuals in the industry, including the recent fraud conviction of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

Binance has been under the DOJ’s scrutiny since at least 2018. 

In June, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued Binance and Zhao, accusing them of operating an “elaborate scheme to evade U.S. federal securities laws.” The Commodity Futures Trading Commission also sued the exchange in March for “willful evasion” of U.S. commodities law.

Binance did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

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