Binance owner and CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao has agreed to step down and plead guilty to breaking anti-money laundering laws, according to reports. wall street journal And forbes, This comes as part of a larger settlement that is expected to be announced by the Justice Department this afternoon, which will reportedly require Binance to pay a fine of more than $4.3 billion.
Even though Zhao can no longer hold an executive role at Binance WSJ The terms of the deal will allow Zhao to retain majority ownership of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, the report said. Zhao is expected to enter his plea in a Seattle court on Tuesday, with sentencing to be held at a later date. Richard Teng, head of regional markets at Binance, is in the running to replace Zhao. forbes,
The Securities and Exchange Commission first sued Binance and Zhao in June, accusing the crypto exchange of operating illegally in the US while defrauding investors. The agency also attempted to freeze Binance’s assets over claims the exchange engaged in “violent conduct” “in disregard of the laws of the United States.” Binance ultimately avoided the freeze by implementing a set of restrictions that, among other things, prevent Binance and Zhao from accessing customer funds.
Although the DOJ has yet to confirm the terms of the settlement, the agency has announced it is holding a press conference at 3 p.m. ET to “announce separate but related cryptocurrency enforcement actions.” Binance is one of the crypto empires targeted by the SEC following the collapse of FTX, as Coinbase is also facing a lawsuit.