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Binance will exit the U.S. market and pay $4.3 billion—one of the largest corporate penalties in U.S. history—to settle anti-money laundering, sanctions violations, the Department of Justice today said.

The exit and penalty settle anti-money laundering and sanctions violations—the result of a years-long investigation into the company and its leadership. CEO Changpeng Zhao has also stepped down after pleading guilty to anti-money laundering violations and agreed to pay a separate $50 million fine.

The settlement also prohibits Zhao from any present or future involvement with the company, Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri said during a press conference.

The charges state that Binance focused on profits over legal compliance, serving U.S. customers without proper controls. This allowed funds tied to terrorism, hacking, and other crimes to flow through Binance undetected.

“Zhao knew that U.S. users were essential to Binance’s growth and were a significant source of revenue and knew that an effective AML program would include KYC protocols that would mean that some customers would choose not to use Binance,” the DOJ said in a press release. “Zhao told employees it was “better to ask for forgiveness than permission,” and prioritized Binance’s growth over compliance with U.S. law.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland said during a Tuesday afternoon press conference that chats obtained during the investigation show that compliance officers that the company joked that they should hang a banner that said: “Is washing drug money too hard these days? Come to Binance. We got cake for you.”

Binance also failed to stop over $898 million in illegal trades between U.S. users and those in sanctioned countries like Iran. As part of the plea deal, Binance forfeited over $2.5 billion and paid a $1.8 billion criminal fine. Zhao’s plea relates to the lack of anti-money laundering controls.

The resolution aims to send a message that crypto exchanges serving U.S. customers must follow the law. Using new technology does not excuse criminal conduct. When profits are prioritized over compliance, there will be consequences in the U.S. legal system.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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