Crypto king falls: Binance CEO pleads guilty, company to pay $US4.3b fine

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Binance’s chief executive officer Changpeng Zhao agreed to plead guilty to anti-money laundering charges and pay a $US50 million fine during a hearing in Seattle federal court under a sweeping deal worked out with the Justice Department designed to keep the company operating. Zhao agreed to step down as part of the settlement, which included the Treasury Department and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, according to people familiar with the matter. Binance agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay a $US4.3 billion ($6.6 billion) fine, according to people familiar with the matter. The deal ends a years-long investigation into the cryptocurrency exchange. The government’s case against Binance was unsealed in federal court in Washington state, as Zhao prepared to enter his plea. The company is charged with three counts, including money laundering violations, conspiracy to conduct an unlicensed money transmitting business, and sanctions violations. BNB, a cryptocurrency tied to the Binance ecosystem, slipped about 5 per cent following the news. The token had hit a five-month high earlier in the day on the news that the DOJ would soon confirm its settlement with the exchange.

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