Binance Exits United States Market with $4.3 Billion Penalty
Binance, one of the largest digital currency exchanges, has agreed to exit the United States market and pay $4.3 Billion to settle charges of anti-money laundering and sanctions violations, as announced by the Department of Justice. CEO Changpeng Zhao has likewise stepped down and agreed to pay a separate $50 Million fine.
The settlement likewise includes a three-year prohibition on Zhao’s involvement with the company, and it stems from a long criminal investigation into Binance and its leadership. The charges against Binance allege that the company prioritized profits over legal compliance, allowing funds tied to terrorism, hacking, and other crimes to flow through the exchange undetected.
United States customers were integral to Binance’s growth, and the exchange served them without the necessary controls, according to the Department of Justice. Chats obtained during the investigation showed compliance officers joking about facilitating money laundering through the exchange.
As part of the plea deal, Binance forfeited over $2.5 Billion and paid a $1.8 Billion criminal fine. Zhao’s individual plea relates to the lack of anti-money laundering controls at the exchange and violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, mirroring similar charges brought against other industry of digital currency figures.
This unprecedented $4.3 Billion penalty against Binance is a whole lot of warning to all cryptocurrency exchanges serving United States customers. The Department of Justice’s firm stance emphasizes that using new technology to break the law does not make you a disrupter; it makes you a criminal. The message is clear: cryptocurrency exchanges must follow the law, or face severe consequences.
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