Binance to pay more than $4 billion in fines in the United States, its boss resigns

New scandal in the crypto sector. After the implosion of FTX, the largest cryptocurrency exchange platform in the world, Binance, and its general director, Changpeng Zhao, reached an agreement with the American authorities, which provides for the resignation of the emblematic boss. “CZ”, its nickname, has agreed to plead guilty to violating US anti-money laundering laws, the US Department of Justice announced on Tuesday.

As part of an overall agreement, Binance will also plead guilty to violations of US law and agreed to pay two fines of $3.4 billion and $968 million to two agencies under the US Treasury, the Department of Commerce said. Finance. CZ will personally pay him a fine of 50 million dollars

American authorities have been investigating the platform since at least 2018, according to several American media, but have not officially taken legal action until now.

World leader

Changpeng Zhao pleaded guilty before a federal judge in Seattle, Washington, to plead guilty. Co-founder, boss and majority shareholder of the company, the Canadian citizen born in China is the most famous personality in the world of digital currencies.

Binance is, by far, the largest cryptocurrency exchange, with around $12 billion in transactions carried out in the last 24 hours, according to the specialist site CoinMarketCap.

The American investigation, widely reported in the press, has for several years posed a threat to Binance, several executives of which have resigned in recent months.

In addition, the platform was taken to court this year by the two main financial market regulatory agencies, the SEC and the CFTC. The latter criticizes Binance in particular for not having taken sufficient measures to prevent money laundering. In particular, customers could access the platform without their identity having been previously verified.

Business between terrorists

According to investigations by two Treasury agencies, Binance did not take measures to prevent transactions carried out by movements such as the Islamic State group, al-Qaeda or the Ezzedine al-Qassamn brigades, the armed wing of Hamas.

“Failing to implement anti-money laundering measures, Binance allowed a wide range of criminal actors to conduct trades on the platform,” argued the US Treasury.

Digital currencies are regularly used by criminal organizations to transit their assets. The sector offers, overall, a certain anonymity and fewer guarantees against money laundering than the traditional financial system, subject to very heavy compliance obligations.

The investigation also revealed that after committing, from 2019, to no longer accept American customers, Binance retained some, in particular those who were the most active and generated significant turnover for the site.

According to Wall Street Journal, the agreement reached with the authorities would allow Changpeng Zhao to retain its stake in the capital of Binance. His sentence will not be known until a later date.

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