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Cryptocurrency giant Binance and American authorities agree on the resignation of its boss

David Ryder Getty Images via Agence France- Press Binance CEO, co-founder and majority shareholder Changpeng Zhao leaves the Federal Court building in Seattle on Tuesday after pleading guilty to money laundering.

The world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, and its general director, Changpeng Zhao, have reached an agreement with the American authorities, which provides for the resignation of the emblematic boss.

“CZ”, its diminutive, has agreed to plead guilty to violating US anti-money laundering laws, the US Department of Justice announced on Tuesday.

As part of a global agreement, Binance will also pleaded guilty to violations of US law and agreed to pay two fines of $3.4 billion and $968 million to two agencies under the US Treasury, the Treasury said.

American authorities have been investigating the platform since at least 2018, according to several American media, but had not officially taken legal action until now.

Changpeng Zhao was due to appear on Tuesday before a federal judge in Seattle, Washington, to plead guilty.

Co-founder, boss and majority shareholder of the company, the Canadian citizen born in China is the most famous personality in the world of digital currencies.


Binance is, by far, the largest cryptocurrency exchange, with around $12 billion in transactions carried out in the last 24 hours, according to the specialist site CoinMarketCap.

The American survey, widely discussed in the press, has for several years posed a threat to Binance, several executives of which have resigned in recent months.

Growth rather than compliance

< p>In addition, the platform was taken to court this year by the two main financial market regulatory agencies, the SEC and the CFTC.

The latter criticizes Binance in particular for not having taken sufficient measures to prevent money laundering. Customers could notably access the platform without their identity having been previously verified.

According to investigations by two Treasury agencies, Binance did not take measures to prevent transactions carried out by movements such as the Islamic State group, al-Qaeda or the Ezzedine al-Qassam brigades, the armed branch of Hamas.

“By failing to implement anti-money laundering measures, Binance allowed a wide range of criminal actors to conduct trades on the platform,” argued the US Treasury.

Digital currencies are regularly used by criminal organizations to transit their assets.


The sector offers, overall, a certain anonymity and fewer guarantees against money laundering than the traditional financial system, subject to very heavy compliance obligations.

“Since its origins, Binance, and its founder Changpeng Zhao, preferred [respectively] growth and personal wealth to defiance of financial regulations intended to prevent the laundering of criminal assets,” commented Seattle federal prosecutor Tessa Gorman, quoted in a press release.

The investigation also revealed that after committing, from 2019, to no longer accept American customers, Binance retained some, in particular those who were the most active and generated significant turnover for the site.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the agreement reached with the authorities would allow Changpeng Zhao to retain its stake in the capital of Binance. His sentence will not be known until a later date.

Binance has committed to the American authorities to use, for a period of three years, the services of an external observer responsible for compliance, and to comply with the texts in force in this area.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116