DOJ Charges Binance, Mandates Binance Exit, CZ Pleads Guilty

  • The U.S. The Department of Justice has unveiled several criminal charges against Binance. 
  • The DOJ is seeking billions in settlements from the cryptocurrency exchange and its former CEO.
  • Binance has elected a new CEO to succeed CZ.

The U.S. Department of Justice has delved into an extensive investigation of cryptocurrency exchange Binance throughout the year, over allegations of money laundering and criminal activities. However, unlike the SEC and CFTC, who have openly charged the exchange, the Justice Department had kept tight-lipped over the precise details of the probe.

Now, the DOJ has reached a charging decision, unveiling a list of criminal charges against Binance and kicking off resolutions.

DOJ Seeks CZ Probe and $4.3B

At a press conference on November 21, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the U.S. Department of Justice had secured felony criminal pleas from Binance, Binance U.S., and its former CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao. 

At the center were allegations of the violation of U.S. anti-money laundering requirements, operations of an unregistered money transmitter business, and sanctions law breach. 

The Justice alleged that Binance knowingly facilitated millions of dollars of transactions for individuals under U.S sanctions, making it easy for criminals to move stolen funds without hindrance. The exchange also allegedly processed transactions for terrorist groups, including ISIS, Hamas, and Al-Qaeda.

As part of a potential settlement, Binance and CZ will pay a total of $4.3 million to the DOJ and other U.S. regulatory agencies including the Treasury Department and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The exchange will pay a $2.51m forfeiture to the agencies, and an additional $1.81 billion over a 15-month period. The former CEO is also mandated to pay $50 million.

Binance U.S. is expected to make a complete exit from the United States. The exchange is also mandated to file regular reports to the DOJ, and alert the regulators of suspicious financial activities on its platform. 

Binance has announced the election of an interim CEO, Richard Teng, its now-former Global Head of Regional Markets. 

To dive deeper into the former CEO’s expected guilty plea, read here:

CZ Steps Down As Binance CEO As Exchange Pleads Guilty 

Read more on the other legal showdown involving Binance and the SEC:

Judge Rejects Binance and SEC’s Bid for Confidentiality 

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