- The CEO of Binance will plead guilty to Justice Department charges.
- Changpeng Zhao will step down from his leadership role and Binance will pay a $4.3 billion fine.
- Binance has been in hot water as authorities have been taking a harder look at the exchange’s operations.
Binance chief Changpeng Zhao will step down from his role as CEO, and will plead guilty to charges that his crypto exchange violated US anti-money-laundering requirements, Wall Street Journal first reported on Tuesday.
Zhao is set to plead guilty to anti-money laundering charges, and Binance will pay a $4.3 billion fine at a federal court, sources told the Journal. That amount will also include money to settle a lawsuit brought by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission earlier this year, which accused Binance and Zhao of failing to prevent illegal trading activity on the crypto exchange.
As part of the deal, Zhao will give up his leadership role at Binance, though he’ll continue to have majority ownership of the crypto exchange.
Binance is also set to plead guilty to the related charges, sources added, potentially putting an end to a Department of Justice investigation spanning nearly five years.
Prosecutors were looking into Binance’s money laundering prevention measures, as well as whether the exchange allowed traders from sanctioned nations, like Russia and Iran, to conduct trades with American counterparties.
Binance, which is ranked as the largest crypto exchange by trading volume, has been in hot water for months as regulators and law enforcement authorities took a harder look at the exchange’s operations. The exchange reportedly processed over $10 billion in illegal payments last year, according to Reuters, a claim that Binance denied.
Binance did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request to comment.