Binance reaches $4.3b settlement in US plea deal agreement



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Binance Holdings Ltd. has been ordered to pay $4.3 billion for a plea deal approved by District Judge Richard Jones, marking one of the heftiest criminal penalties in U.S. history.

The settlement follows Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, and its founder, Changpeng Zhao, pleading guilty to charges of anti-money laundering and sanctions violations, including transactions with Hamas and other terrorist groups.

The agreement, announced in Seattle, also mandates up to five years of compliance monitoring by an independent firm, yet to be appointed, potentially by New York-based law firm Sullivan & Cromwell.

“This really is a case where the ethics of the company were compromised by greed,” Judge Jones said, emphasizing the deliberate misconduct led by senior executives.

With “hundreds of millions of dollars of collateral consequences,” prosecutors highlighted the role of Binance in leaving the financial system susceptible to exploitation.

“We’re also proud of the compliance enhancements” that have been implemented over the past several years, expressed Josh Eaton, Binance’s deputy general counsel, to the judge. He emphasized that the company accepts full responsibility for its past and why the company is where it is.

Judge Jones pointed out Binance’s calculated decisions to disregard U.S. laws despite being aware of their applicability, underlining the sentence’s aim to deter similar future conduct by Binance and other entities and protect customers.

Zhao is set for sentencing in April, facing no more than 18 months in prison as per the plea agreement, which also required him to step down as CEO of Binance and pay a $50 million fine.


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