Binance, world's largest crypto exchange, to pay $4.3 billion fine as CEO pleads guilty to federal charges

Binance, world's largest crypto exchange, to pay $4.3 billion fine as CEO pleads guilty to federal charges
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Binance founder resigns and will pay a fine of $4.3 billion for money laundering.
The manager agrees to resign, accepts the fine and pleads guilty to violating US money laundering laws.

Changpeng Zhao , founder of the Binance cryptocurrency platform, has reached an agreement with the United States Government and will pay $4.3 billion for violating anti-money laundering laws and the regulation of American stock markets, according to AP.

With the agreement with the Department of Justice, the Treasury and the Futures Market Commission (CFTC), the manager will close the civil lawsuit against the platform filed in February by the CFTC.

The lawsuit claimed that since July 2019, Binance had offered derivatives trading to US users even though it theoretically could not do so and did not require any type of identification for those customers, also in violation of regulations. The US agency considers that the founder and CEO was responsible for all strategic decisions, including a "secret plot" to help clients considered important to avoid those controls. The regulator also accuses Samuel Lim, Binance's former chief compliance officer, of aiding and abetting the alleged irregular practices.

Then, in June, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also sued the firm for numerous violations of securities market laws, including the diversion of "billions" from its investors to an opaque company controlled by Zhao, and the manipulation of the platform's trading volume.

According to the operation described by American investigators, the platform would have transferred billions of dollars from its investors to a company controlled by Zhao called Merit Peak Limited without warning its clients.

Zhao has agreed to pay this fine and has pleaded guilty to the charges, in addition to resigning as CEO of the platform. However, according to The Wall Street Journal , he will be able to maintain shareholder control of the company. The agreement and all its details are expected to be officially announced in the coming hours.

The agreement comes shortly after the trial against Sam Bankman-Fried and his platform, FTX, began. Bankman-Fried is accused of defrauding his clients of nearly $9 billion.

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