The billionaire head of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance has pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering. Under terms of a plea agreement, Changpeng Zhao will be fined $50 million and barred from involvement in Binance for three years. He faces up to 18 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, though federal prosecutors could ask for a longer term. Meanwhile, Binance pleaded guilty to violating the Bank Secrecy Act, failing to register as a money transfer business and violating U.S. sanctions laws. On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced the company would pay a $4.3 billion fine.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen: “It deliberately undermined its own sanctions monitoring controls, and it failed to report suspicious transactions. This meant Binance was allowing illicit actors to transact freely, supporting activities from child sexual abuse to illegal narcotics to terrorism across more than 100,000 transactions.”