Crypto exchange Binance’s founder and former CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) is stepping down from his role as Chairman of the Board of Directors at Binance.US.
Zhao will retain an economic interest in the company but will no longer participate in its governance, having transferred his voting rights through a proxy arrangement.
Moving forward, the company will be led by Norman Reed and its current management team.
CZ had earlier pleaded guilty to criminal charges for anti-money laundering and violations of U.S. sanctions.
As a result, Binance has agreed to pay US$3.4 billion to FinCEN and US$968 million to OFAC, representing the largest penalties in the history of these U.S. regulatory bodies. Zhao had to personally pay US$50 million as part of the deal.
As part of the settlement agreement, Binance will be subject to 5 years of monitoring and “significant compliance undertakings” to ensure the crypto exchange’s complete exit from the United States.
CZ currently faces restrictions on leaving the U.S. following the suspension of his US$175 million bond release due to concerns that he may be a flight risk since UAE has no extradition treaty with the U.S.
In light of these recent events, Binance.US has clarified its operational independence on social media platform X.
“Binance.US was launched with the express purpose of serving United States customers in accordance with all U.S. rules and regulations. While we share a brand and industry-leading technology stack, we operate independently of Binance.com.
To that end, Binance.US is not a party to the settlements announced last week, nor do we have any outstanding enforcement matters with the DOJ, FinCEN, OFAC, or CFTC. We remain fully operational and are committed to continuing to serve our customers with the same products and services as we always have.”