Binance founder Changpeng Zhao will reportedly step down as the crypto exchange’s CEO and admit to violating US anti-money laundering laws.
Zhao will plead guilty to criminal charges while Binance, the largest crypto exchange in the world, will agree to pay $4.3 billion in fines to US regulators, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Citing people familiar with the matter, WSJ says the crypto billionaire will enter his plea to a Seattle court this afternoon in a deal that may allow Binance to continue its normal operations, while also giving Zhao the right to retain majority ownership of the exchange.
However, Zhao will not be allowed to have an executive role at the company, and will face sentencing at a later date.
Neither Zhao nor the Justice Department has made an official statement on the deal at time of publishing.
Zhao and Binance’s deal with the DOJ is separate from the charges it faced from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in June of this year, when the SEC attempted to freeze the American arm of the crypto exchange’s assets.
Last month, the Chamber of Digital Commerce, a crypto lobbying organization, defended Binance, saying that the SEC’s charges were akin to suing a grocery store for selling oranges while likening the exchange to e-commerce giant Amazon.
“In bringing a case against the Defendants here, the SEC is suing the equivalent of a grocery store selling oranges and other fruit, or an online e-commerce marketplace, like Amazon.
Tokens alone are not securities, and the markets where they are available to buy and sell are not securities exchanges. Whether or not a token was initially sold as part of an ‘investment contract’ is of no consequence.”
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