Three news to start your week: March 4

Stay updated with the latest news: Binance's guilty plea, Gunvor's bribery settlement, and Gemini's customer refund in New York. Get the scoop on major fines and regulatory actions.

Three news to start your week: March 4

Judge approves Binance's $4.3 billion guilty plea


On Friday, a US judge approved Binance's admission of guilt and a penalty exceeding $4.3 billion for breaching federal anti-money laundering and sanctions laws due to deficiencies in internal controls at the leading cryptocurrency exchange worldwide.

Shortly after proposed changes to Binance founder Changpeng Zhao's bond drew objection from his lawyers, US District Judge Richard Jones in Seattle approved a plea that comes with a remarkable $1.81 billion criminal fine and $2.51 billion of forfeiture.

In November, Binance made a plea that successfully concluded a lengthy investigation. The probe revealed that the exchange had neglected to report over 100,000 suspicious transactions associated with designated terrorist organizations such as Hamas, al Qaeda, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

According to prosecutors, Binance's platform was also implicated in facilitating the distribution of child sexual abuse materials and was one of the major beneficiaries of ransomware payments.


Gunvor Unit to Pay $661 Million After Pleading Guilty in Bribery Scheme

(The Wall Street Journal)

Gunvor Group, a big player in the global energy commodity trading industry, has agreed to pay about $661 million as a settlement. They admitted to bribing officials in Ecuador.

Gunvor SA has confessed to a conspiracy charge in a federal court in Brooklyn, NY. The company admitted to paying bribes to officials at Ecuador's Ministry of Hydrocarbons and the state oil company Petroecuador to secure oil product contracts. As a result, Gunvor has been fined $374 million and must forfeit $287 million from illegal sources. However, it is important to mention that Switzerland and Ecuador will consider the amounts already paid, giving Gunvor some credit for cooperating.

Gunvor previously said that the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission was investigating, but now they say they are unaware of any remaining issues.


Gemini to Return $1.1 Billion to Customers in New York Regulator Settlement

(The Wall Street Journal)

Gemini Trust has committed to refunding a minimum of $1.1 billion to users of its cryptocurrency exchange's Earn investment program and to paying around $37 million in fines for compliance lapses, as announced by New York's financial regulator.

Gemini, a crypto exchange, failed to appropriately supervise and evaluate its partner, Genesis Global Capital, in the Earn program. Genesis Global Capital, a now-bankrupt crypto lender, was unable to deliver the virtual currency to 200,000 Earn customers, resulting in a total loss of approximately $1.8 billion.

The regulatory body noted several other shortcomings in Gemini's compliance programs and management oversight, including customer due diligence and internal audit planning deficiencies.