Headline RoundupNovember 22nd, 2023

Largest Crypto Exchange Platform Pleads Guilty to Violating Laundering Law

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange platform, pleaded guilty to “violating and causing a financial institution to violate” the Bank Secrecy Act.

Details: Both Zhao, also known as CZ, and Binance pleaded guilty to violating the Bank Secrecy Act. Zhao will step down as CEO, but Binance will continue to operate under heightened supervision from U.S. officials and pay a $4.3 billion fine, the largest settlement in Treasury Department history. According to the Washington Examiner (Lean Right bias), Binance failed to prevent and report exchanges between U.S. users and sanctioned regions such as North Korea and Iran and terror groups such as Hamas.

Key Quotes: Attorney General Merrick Garland said Binance and Zhao “willfully violated federal law that guards against money laundering and terrorist financing.” In a post on social media, Zhao stated, “I am proud to point out that in our resolutions with the U.S. agencies they: do not allege that Binance misappropriated any user funds, and do not allege that Binance engaged in any market manipulation.”

How the Media Covered It: Outlets across the spectrum covered the announcement, with increased attention and analysis seen in business, technology and finance outlets. Coverage from Wired (Center bias) determined this announcement, paired with a jury finding former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried guilty of wire fraud and conspiracy earlier this month, marks the “end of crypto’s freewheeling years.” The Daily Beast (Left bias) said Zhao was the “latest Kingpin to fall.”

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