Binance Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Changpeng Zhao, on Tuesday pleaded guilty to money laundering charges against him and has agreed to step down from his role.
Following the development, Zhao has named a new CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange.
Binance which is the world’s largest crypto exchange, will be ordered to pay $4.3bn to settle multiple criminal violations uncovered by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), according to report.
Zhao is expected to appear in a Seattle federal court and enter his plea bargains.
The development is coming more than five months after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused Binance and its founder of lying to regulators about its operations.
About 13 charges were filed against Binance and Zhao in the federal case.
The U.S. Commodity Futures and Trading Commission complicated the case for the company after filing a suit against Binance, Zhao and its Chief Compliance Officer, Samuel Lim, for alleged violation of trading and derivatives rules.
In a post on X, Zhao said he “must take responsibility,” and that it was “not easy to let go emotionally.” The controversial crypto entrepreneur, who was accused of violating the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act and sanctions violations, added that he was “proud to point out” U.S. agencies did not allege Binance had misappropriated user funds or market manipulation.
The case against Binance, which was unsealed on Tuesday afternoon, shows that the exchange faces three criminal charges, including conducting an unlicensed money-transmitting business, violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, as well as a conspiracy charge.
The exchange has agreed to $4.3 billion in fines and forfeiture.
Zhao has now named Richard Teng, a former CEO of Abu Dhabi Global Market, the UAE capital’s financial services regulator, as Binance’s new CEO.
Teng was most recently global head of regional markets at Binance.
He was also previously director of corporate finance at the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
Binance was launched in June 2017 and within six months became the largest crypto exchange in the world.