Changpeng Zhao, Binance CEO, admits money laundering

Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, tendered his resignation subsequent to his guilty plea for illicit money laundering activities.

He wrote on social media that as mistakes were made he accepts full accountability. He added that it is not only in his best interest but also in the best interest of Binance, and the best the community.

The Justice Department announced that Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, would be required to pay penalties and forfeitures totaling $4.3 billion (£3.4 billion). It was stated that Binance assisted users in circumventing sanctions worldwide.

A spokesperson for Binance stated that Binance facilitated millions of dollars in transactions between US users and users in Syria, as well as in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian regions of Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk, and enabled transactions worth nearly $900 million between US and Iranian users.

Binance, which is headquartered in the Cayman Islands, is the largest marketplace for purchasing and selling digital assets and cryptocurrencies in the world. Additionally, the Justice Department stated that the exchange facilitated money transfers for criminals and militants.

From August 2017 to April 2022, Hydra executed direct bitcoin transfers amounting to around $106 million to wallets according to sources.

The department stated that Hydra was a well-known Russian darknet marketplace that was frequently utilised by criminals to facilitate the sale of illegal products and services. Binance is now required to notify federal authorities of any suspicious activity.

The Justice Department stated, "This will further our criminal investigations into pernicious cyber activity and terrorism fundraising, including the use of cryptocurrency exchanges to support groups like Hamas."

The organisation has appointed its director of regional markets, Richard Teng, as its new CEO.

In a post on social media, Changpeng Zhao stated that emotionally letting go was difficult. He is among the crypto industry's most influential figures.

US regulators attempted to prohibit Binance in March, alleging that the company had been conducting illegal business in the country. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) lawsuit alleged that the company conducted business in the United States without properly registering with authorities.

Numerous US financial laws were allegedly violated by Binance, including regulations designed to prevent money laundering. Binance defended its practises at the time.

The company stated that it had "made substantial investments" to prevent the activity of US users on the platform, including barring individuals who had a US mobile number or were identified as citizens or residents of the United States.

In June, the firm was also served with an additional lawsuit. A "web of deception" was alleged to have been woven around the organisation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

In order to continue operating in the United States, the trading platform and its founder, Zhao, disregarded regulations intended to safeguard investors, according to the agency. Binance stated it would defend itself "vigorously" at the time.

Following last year's catastrophic collapse of Binance competitor FTX, US authorities had pledged to use existing laws to eradicate fraud and other problems in the cryptocurrency industry. Sam Bankman-Fried, the proprietor of FTX, was convicted of fraud earlier this month. ​