Binance CEO Steps Down after Pleading Guilty with $50m Fine

The recent wave of Binance executives’ resignation has added another count as its founder, Changpeng Zhao (CZ) pleaded guilty to criminal charges and has stepped down as CEO as part of a $4 billion settlement with the US Department of Justice (DoJ). The filing indicated CZ agreed to pay a $50 million fine and Binance “knowingly and wilfully” caused the supply of services to Iran, in breach of U.S. sanctions.


The world’s largest cryptocurrencies exchange founder announced his stepping down via Twitter-X last night, as he wrote he made “mistakes” and “must take responsibility”, and “This is best for Binance.” He wrote that the US agencies “do not allege that Binance misappropriated any user funds and any market manipulation”. CZ also announced his successor, Ricard Teng, Binance’s former “Global Head of Regional Markets,” who has a background in the regulation field from both Abu Dhabi and Singapore.


However, the court filing details his plea agreement that he plead guilty of “violating and causing financial institutions to violate the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)” and agree to pay a $50 million fine. The filing also noted, “Defendant Binance has accepted the resignation of Zhao, its CEO, and prohibited him from any present or future involvement in operating or managing Defendant’s business.”


Currently, BNB, the Binance owned utility tokens, is trading around $238 per BNB. The price fell almost 14% from around $262 to $225, after CZ social media post but the price recovered afterward.