On April 7, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) held a press conference to announce charges against Binance and its CEO, Changpeng Zhao (CZ). According to prosecutors, Binance engaged in illegal activities, primarily the laundering of stolen cryptocurrency.
At the press conference, the DOJ reported that Binance and CZ were charged with money laundering, operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, and failing to implement an anti-money laundering program. Additionally, the DOJ stated that the funds laundered by Binance were used to finance terrorist activities, facilitate drug trafficking, and fund other criminal activities.
In response to the charges, CZ announced the appointment of Wei Zhou, former executive at Coinbase, as the new CEO of Binance and stated that the company would continue to abide by the law. He added that the company would prioritize regulatory compliance in the future, as well as aim to become the “gold standard” for crypto exchanges.