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Binance, CEO Zhao to plead guilty in US settlement: report

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Binance Holdings Ltd. and its Chief Executive Officer Changpeng Zhao agreed to plead guilty to criminal and civil charges under a deal worked out with the Justice Department, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Zhao agreed to step down as CEO and pleaded guilty to violating anti-money laundering requirements as part of the settlement, which included the Treasury Department and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the WSJ said.

The charges come as part of a settlement negotiated between the two sides that will allow Binance to continue to operate while resolving allegations of criminal wrongdoing ranging from money laundering and bank fraud to violations of sanctions. Bloomberg News reported the settlement on Monday.

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The resolution against the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange and its top leader represents comes as the industry has been facing growing scrutiny from the Justice Department, other government agencies and lawmakers.

BNB, a cryptocurrency tied to the Binance ecosystem, slipped following the report. The token had hit a five-month high earlier in the day on the news that the DOJ would soon confirm its settlement with the exchange.