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Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao Money Laundering Guilty Plea Approved By Judge

2 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • A US district judge has accepted a guilty plea from former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao on AML violation charges.
  • Binance agreed to pay a massive $4.3 billion penalty while Zhao must pay an extra $50 million fine.
  • Changpeng Zhao stepped down from Binance.US board of directors last week where he served as chairman of the board.
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Changpeng Zhao, popularly known as ‘CZ’ and the former CEO of Binance has pleaded guilty to anti-money laundering violations. This plea comes as a conclusion to a years-long investigation by federal regulators and has led to one of the largest corporate settlements in legal history.

US District Judge Richard Jones, presiding in Seattle, Washington, accepted Zhao’s plea.

Former Binance CEO ‘CZ’ Officially Takes Guilty Plea

Judge Jones stated:

“This Court, having considered the Report and Recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge, to which there has been no timely objection … hereby accepts the plea of guilty of the defendant.”

This acceptance concludes an extensive investigation by federal regulators into Binance’s operations.

Binance, as part of the settlement, has agreed to pay one of the largest fines in corporate history, totaling $4.3 billion. Zhao himself agreed to a personal fine of $50 million.

Reflecting on the gravity of the situation, Zhao stated,

“10 years ago today, I quit my job, sold my house, and aped into #bitcoin. No, I am not saying you should do the same. Many people asked, how could you take such risks? Me, I knew I could easily get a job… Everyone’s risk profile is different. Learn risk management.”

Following his guilty plea, Zhao also stepped down from his roles as CEO of Binance and chairman of the board of directors for Binance.US. This decision effectively diminishes his direct influence over the US operations of Binance, relegating his interest to a purely economic one.

Read more: 7 Best Binance Alternatives in 2023

Zhao to Be Sentenced in 2024

Zhao’s sentencing is scheduled for February 23, 2024, with a potential 18-month prison term. He is, however, currently released on a $175 million bond. The decision about his travel back to the United Arab Emirates, where he resides, remains under judicial consideration. Federal prosecutors also expressed concern, stating,

“He has three young children and a partner in the UAE; once in the UAE and faced with the prospect of traveling back to the United States to face up to 18 months in prison, he may elect to instead simply stay in the UAE with his family.”

As a part of its plea, Binance will also need to implement regulatory oversight, allowing monitors to report back to the Department of Justice and the Treasury Department. Richard Teng stepped in as the new CEO. Many are confident that he can guide Binance through this new regulatory phase

All in all, this case underscores the evolving regulatory grip that regulators have on the cryptocurrency industry. It also serves as a stern warning about the consequences of non-compliance with established financial regulations.

Top crypto platforms in the US | March 2024

In adherence to the Trust Project guidelines, BeInCrypto is committed to unbiased, transparent reporting. This news article aims to provide accurate, timely information. However, readers are advised to verify facts independently and consult with a professional before making any decisions based on this content.
This article was initially compiled by an advanced AI, engineered to extract, analyze, and organize information from a broad array of sources. It operates devoid of personal beliefs, emotions, or biases, providing data-centric content. To ensure its relevance, accuracy, and adherence to BeInCrypto’s editorial standards, a human editor meticulously reviewed, edited, and approved the article for publication.

Kyle Baird
Kyle migrated from the East Coast USA to South-East Asia after graduating from Pennsylvania's East Stroudsburg University with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2010. Following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Kyle got his start buying stocks and precious metals in his teens. This sparked his interest in learning and writing about cryptocurrencies. He started as a copywriter for Bitcoinist in 2016 before taking on an editor's role at BeInCrypto at the beginning of 2018.