Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, expects to pay monetary penalties to settle probes into its business in the U.S., a top executive said, in a major about-face after publicly disputing the idea that it was under any investigation and mocking media outlets that reported otherwise.
In an apparent admission of breaking laws, Binance chief strategy officer Patrick Hillmann told the WSJ that the company’s executives were unfamiliar with laws and rules written surrounding bribery, corruption and money laundering.
Binance is “working with regulators to figure out what are the remediations we have to go through now to make amends for that,” he said. The outcome could range from “like a fine” to “could be more.”
Reuters reported in December that prosecutors at the U.S. Department of Justice have been investigating Binance since 2018 over any lapses in compliance with U.S. anti-money laundering laws and sanctions and was split about whether it was the right time to conclude the probe.
Binance publicly disputed the report, alleging Reuters was “wrong again” and “attacking our law enforcement team, a team that we’re incredibly proud of.”
Binance founder and chief executive Changpeng Zhao launched a campaign on Twitter, alleging newsrooms were “still working for” FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried. As usual, Zhao presented no evidence to back up his claims and urged his followers to “ignore the FUD.”
The change in tack for Binance comes as it’s becoming publicly apparent that things are not all okay for the firm. The SEC has told Paxos, which issues BUSD stablecoin for Binance, that it plans to take action against the firm over such issuance, the WSJ earlier reported.
Earlier this week, Paxos said it had stopped issuing new BUSD tokens at the direction of the New York Department of Financial Services.