- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Nov. 21 (UPI) -- The founder of the world's largest cryptocurrency currency trading platform Binance agreed to step down from his position and pay $50 million in fines Tuesday as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Changpeng Zhao, who launched Binance in 2017, pleaded guilty to money laundering charges, according to court documents published Tuesday and dated Monday.
Binance also agreed to pay $4.3 billion in fines and restitution to victims.
In June, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint against Binance, along with BAM Trading and BAM Management, which are also owned by Zhao.
"Defendants have unlawfully solicited U.S. investors to buy, sell, and trade crypto asset securities through unregistered trading platforms available online at Binance.com," the SEC said in its complaint filing.
The SEC said, "defendants had unlawfully solicited U.S. investors to buy, sell, and trade crypto asset securities through unregistered trading platforms available online at Binance.com."
The SEC also said Zhao and his co-defendants had taken steps to dodge U.S. regulations.
"They consistently claimed to the public that Binance.com Platform did not serve U.S. persons, while simultaneously concealing their efforts to ensure that the most valuable U.S. customers continued trading on the platform," the SEC said.
Binance called the lawsuit "baseless" in a post on X in June.
"To be clear, we believe the lawsuit is baseless and we intend to defend ourselves vigorously," the company said.
According to court documents, users in nations that are under U.S. sanctions were able to use the platform.