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In a significant turn of events, Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, has agreed to step down amidst a settlement agreement with U.S. regulatory bodies. The decision comes as Binance prepares to pay a hefty fine of $4.3 billion for violating U.S. anti-money-laundering laws.

Sources close to the matter have indicated that the situation involves complex discussions between Zhao, Binance, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The negotiations center around the specific charges against Binance and its CEO, and the ramifications of the settlement for the company’s future.

As part of the settlement, Zhao will relinquish his CEO position, and Binance will admit guilt to charges of anti-money laundering and sanctions violations. In addition to the company’s hefty fine, Zhao himself will pay a criminal fine of $50 million, which may be reduced based on his commitment to pay separate civil penalties.

Richard Teng, previously the Global Head of Regional Markets at Binance, is set to take over as the new CEO. Teng’s background in financial services and regulatory affairs positions him to lead Binance towards greater compliance and transparency. This will include bolstering the company’s anti-money laundering efforts and ensuring adherence to international sanctions.

Failure to meet these regulatory standards could subject Binance to more stringent penalties, potentially including restrictions on its operations. Should Binance falter in complying with the settlement’s terms, a contingency plan for a more intensive overhaul of the company’s operational and compliance frameworks is in place.