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Binance Agrees to $4.3 Billion Settlement in US Plea Deal

In a significant legal development, Binance Holdings Ltd. has consented to a $4.3 billion settlement as part of a plea deal approved by District Judge Richard Jones. This settlement stands as one of the largest criminal penalties in the history of the United States.

The plea deal stems from allegations against Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, and its founder, Changpeng Zhao. Both parties have pleaded guilty to charges related to anti-money laundering and sanctions violations, including transactions with terrorist groups like Hamas.

Under the terms of the agreement announced in Seattle, Binance will be subjected to up to five years of compliance monitoring by an independent firm, which is yet to be appointed, possibly by the New York-based law firm Sullivan & Cromwell.

District Judge Jones emphasized the severity of the situation, characterizing it as a case where the company’s integrity was compromised by greed, particularly highlighting the deliberate misconduct by senior executives.

Prosecutors emphasized the significant negative impact of Binance’s actions on the financial system, leaving it vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

Josh Eaton, Binance’s deputy general counsel, expressed the company’s acknowledgment of its past failures and highlighted the compliance enhancements implemented over recent years.

Judge Jones underscored Binance’s conscious disregard for US laws despite being fully aware of their applicability. The sentence aims to serve as a deterrent against similar misconduct by Binance and other entities, ultimately safeguarding customers.

Changpeng Zhao is slated for sentencing in April, facing a maximum of 18 months in prison as per the plea agreement. Additionally, he is required to step down as CEO of Binance and pay a $50 million fine.

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