Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binanace Steps Down
Binance founder Changpeng Zhao has admitted guilt to federal money laundering charges and stepped down as CEO. The US government has made a deal with Binance and Zhao, where Binance will forfeit $2.5 billion and pay a $1.8 billion fine. Zhao, who is resigning, will personally pay $50 million. Richard Teng, Binance’s regional markets head, will take over as the new CEO. The settlement also requires Binance to appoint an independent compliance monitor to supervise its operations.
“Today, I stepped down as CEO of Binance,“Admittedly, it was not easy to let go emotionally. But I know it is the right thing to do. I made mistakes, and I must take responsibility. This is best for our community, for Binance, and for myself”, Zhao posted on X (formerly Twitter).
As part of the agreement, Zhao will be banned from any involvement with Binance for the next three years. He is expected to plead guilty later today for breaking the Bank Secrecy Act and causing a financial institution to do the same. Despite losing his executive role, Zhao will still own the majority of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In June, the Securities and Exchange Commission took legal action against Binance and Zhao, accusing them of illegal operations in the US and defrauding investors. The agency sought to freeze Binance’s assets due to its “violative conduct” that showed “disregard for the laws of the United States.” However, Binance avoided the freeze by implementing restrictions preventing access to customer funds and other measures.
“Because of the crimes committed, Binance became the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world,” The US Attorney General, Merrick Garland, stated in a press conference. “Now, Binance has paid one of the largest corporate penalties in US history.”