May 24, 2024

Changpeng Zhao, the founder of Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, agreed to plead guilty to money laundering violations, according to court papers, a stunning blow to the most powerful and influential figure in the global crypto industry.

Binance itself also agreed to plead guilty, according to the court papers filed in federal court in Seattle.

The filing said that as part of his guilty plea, Mr. Zhao agreed to pay a $50 million fine and will also step down from his role as chief executive of the company. He is barred from any future involvement in Binance’s business.

The company, as part of its plea deal with federal prosecutors, will accept appointment of a monitor, according to the court filing, which was dated Nov. 20.

Mr. Zhao’s lawyers could not be reached for comment.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Alan Rappeportcontributed reporting.