Binance CEO CZ resigns in $4 billion deal with DOJ

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao is stepping down as CEO of Binance as part of a major $4 billion deal between the Justice Department and the cryptocurrency exchange he founded, according to sources familiar with the discussions with the agency.

The settlement will be reached with the DOJ and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission; the Securities and Exchange Commission does not participate.

As part of the settlement, Zhao will also plead guilty to anti-money laundering charges brought by the Justice Department. He is expected to enter a plea in Seattle federal court Tuesday afternoon, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Binance, the DOJ, the CFTC and the SEC had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.

The SEC charged Binance and its founder CZ in June with operating an unregistered exchange and misleading investors by using a Switzerland-based fund, Sigma Chain, which was also owned by CZ, to inflate trading volume. transactions on the American Binance platform. “Through thirteen charges, we allege that the Zhao and Binance entities engaged in a vast web of deception, conflicts of interest, lack of disclosure, and calculated evasion of the law,” said the chairman of the SEC, Gary Gensler, in June.

The SEC’s action followed charges brought by the CFTC, which also alleged that the company offered crypto derivatives, such as futures or options, to U.S. citizens without registering as a commodities dealer. firsts in the long term.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that Binance was close to agreeing to a $4 billion settlement with the Department of Justice. The deal would mark the end of a Justice Department investigation into the crypto exchange that began at least in 2018. Reuters reported that federal prosecutors asked Binance to turn over files and messages relating to its customers Americans at the end of 2020.

Last September, Binance announced the formation of a global advisory board led by former US Senator and Ambassador to China Max Baucus. Other members include David Plouffe, former campaign manager for President Barack Obama, and Bruno Bézard, former director of the French Treasury.

Development …

Additional reporting by Steve Ehrlich, Sarah Emerson and Iain Martin.

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