Binance boss steps down after pleading guilty to money laundering

Changpeng Zhao will step down as chief executive of Binance as part of his plea deal

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

As part of his guilty plea, Zhao, commonly known as CZ, agreed to pay a $50m fine and will step down as chief executive of the company.

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.

Binance also pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $4.3bn in fines and restitution to the US government.

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.

Following the plea, Richard Teng announced on X that he would replace Zhao as Binance’s new CEO. In his statement, Teng said that the company’s foundation was “stronger than ever”.

The guilty pleas follow the crypto entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried conviction of fraud at a criminal trial arising from the collapse of his FTX crypto exchange.

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

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