The head of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Changpeng Zhao, will resign and plead guilty to violating US criminal laws in the field of combating money laundering, reports RBC Crypto with reference to The Wall Street Journal.
This will allow the exchange to continue operating. At the same time, Zhao will retain a controlling stake in Binance, and the exchange itself will pay $4.3 billion in fines.
At 23:00 Moscow time, the Ministry of Justice will hold a press conference with the participation of US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco and CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam, at which they will announce the conclusion of an agreement with Binance.
The settlement agreement reached between the two parties will allow Binance to continue operating.
The deal, aimed at resolving charges against the exchange, involves the US Department of Justice, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the US Treasury Department. As he writes Reuters Citing court documents, the exchange faces three criminal charges, including operating an unlicensed financial business, conspiracy and violating the Emergency Financial Powers Act.
According to one of the publication’s sources, the company will pay $3.4 billion to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Unit (FinCEN) and $968 million to OFAC.
It is reported that Zhao is already at the courthouse. In addition to himself, charges may be brought against the former head of the exchange’s compliance department, Samuel Lim. According to Forbes, Richard Teng, who is responsible for all regional markets outside the United States at Binance, could become a contender for the position of head of the exchange. His possible candidacy was known back in June.
Prosecutors say Zhao agrees with the court’s recommendation to fine the exchange and order the confiscation of $2.51 billion in assets. Prosecutors also said Binance will pay the fine within 15 months of the verdict.
In exchange for compliance with the terms of the agreement and payment of fines, the Justice Department’s claims against the exchange must be settled, but two civil lawsuits were also previously filed against the exchange.
In March, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued Binance and Zhao for allegedly “illegal” operation of the exchange and a “sham” compliance program. Then in June, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed its own lawsuit against Binance, Zhao and Binance.US (the exchange’s separate division for the US market) for allegedly violating US securities laws.
The rate of the exchange’s own crypto token, BNB, reacted by rising to $271 to the first news that an agreement would be reached, but when details emerged, in particular about Zhao’s resignation, the token sharply sank in price. At 23:550 Moscow time, BNB is trading at $243 and continues to fall in price. The coin is the fourth largest cryptocurrency by capitalization after Bitcoin, Ethereum and the stablecoin Tether USD (USDT).
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