© Reuters. Zhao Changpeng, founder and chief executive officer of Binance greets the audience during an event in Athens, Greece, November 25, 2022. REUTERS/Costas Baltas/File Photo
By Tom Wilson
LONDON (Reuters) – The most powerful man in crypto has lost his crown – and could see his freedom curtailed as well.
Binance chief Changpeng Zhao on Tuesday stepped down and pleaded guilty to breaking U.S. anti-money laundering laws as part of a $4.3 billion settlement resolving a years-long probe into the world’s largest crypto exchange, prosecutors said.
The deal with the Justice Department, part of a large settlement between Binance and other U.S. agencies, resolves criminal charges for conducting an unlicensed money transmitter business, conspiracy and breaching sanctions regulations.
It also leaves Zhao’s future uncertain.
“Today, I stepped down as CEO of Binance,” Zhao tweeted. “Admittedly, it was not easy to let go emotionally. But I know it is the right thing to do. I made mistakes, and I must take responsibility.”
Zhao, known as CZ, will personally pay $50 million and is barred from all involvement with Binance.
U.S. sentencing guidelines call for prison time of 10 to…
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