Changpeng Zhao, the founder of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has agreed to plead guilty to money laundering violations, according to court documents, a major blow for the most powerful and influential figure of the global crypto industry.
Binance itself also agreed to plead guilty, according to court documents filed in Seattle federal court.
The filing says that as part of his guilty plea, Mr. Zhao agreed to pay a $50 million fine and will also step down as chief executive of the company. He is prohibited from any future involvement in Binance activities.
The company, as part of its plea agreement with federal prosecutors, will agree to the appointment of a monitor, according to the court filing dated Nov. 20.
Mr. Zhao’s lawyers could not be reached for comment.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Alan Rappportreports contributed.