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Binance criminal settlement includes $4 billion fine and CEO’s guilty plea

An image showing the Binance logo on a blue background
Nick Barclay / The Verge

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, the owner and CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange Binance, has agreed to step down and plead guilty to breaking anti-money laundering laws, according to papers filed in a Seattle court on Tuesday. This comes as part of the major settlement the Department of Justice announced this afternoon, which will require Binance to fork over $4.3 billion in fines.

Zhao also agreed to pay $50 million, and sentencing will occur at a later date. “Today, I stepped down as CEO of Binance,” Zhao writes on X (formerly Twitter). “Admittedly, it was not easy to let go emotionally. But I know it is the right thing to do. I made mistakes, and I must take responsibility. This is best for our community, for Binance, and for myself.”

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