The largest cryptocurrency exchange platform in the world, Binance, and its general director, Changpeng Zhao, have reached a plea agreement with American authorities to violate US anti-money laundering laws. As part of the agreement, Binance will pay two fines totaling several billion dollars to the US Treasury.
This marks a significant milestone in the ongoing investigation into Binance by American authorities, which began in 2018. The platform’s failure to implement anti-money laundering measures allowed a wide range of criminal actors to conduct trades on the platform. Despite committing to no longer accept American customers in 2019, Binance was found to have retained some American customers.
As part of their agreement with American authorities, Binance has committed to using an external observer for compliance purposes for three years. This move is seen as an attempt by Binance to address concerns about its compliance practices and avoid further legal action from American regulators.
The actions taken against Binance highlight the challenges posed by digital currencies, which offer certain anonymity and less robust money laundering safeguards than the traditional financial system. These challenges are further compounded by the fact that digital currencies are used by criminal organizations such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and Hamas.
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