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November 21, 2023

DOJ’s Settlement with Binance and Its CEO Once Again Showcases Lawlessness of Crypto Industry and Grossly Deficient Punishment for White Collar Criminals

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Dennis M. Kelleher, Co-founder, President, and CEO of Better Markets issued the following statement on the settlement among the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) and Binance and its CEO Changpeng Zhao known as CZ:

“The DOJ’s litany of repeated, egregious, and years-long knowing, intentional and widespread global criminal conduct by Binance and CZ involving terrorist financing, rogue state sanctions evasion, money laundering, and drug trafficking is beyond shocking and certainly merits one of the largest corporate penalties in history.  It is yet another stark reminder of the lawless rot at the core of the crypto industry.

“However, the Department of Justice letting Binance use its predatory if not criminal profits to buy its CEO and other executives get-out-of-jail free cards continues an indefensible double standard of justice where the wealthy get special treatment and Main Street Americans get thrown in jail. Unless and until DOJ starts meaningfully prosecuting individual executives and supervisors and imposing significant prison time and bankrupting personal fines, this practice just rewards past crimes and incentivizes more future crimes. Don’t be fooled. Even billion dollars fines are meaningless to gigantic, global financial firms; they are little more than a cost of doing business and the criminal business is booming because of policies that fail to prosecute individuals fully and properly.

“Regrettably, today’s settlement is not an outlier, and the lawlessness if not criminal activities of crypto will continue and increase until all prosecutors, regulators and elected officials force the industry to act like all other law-abiding people and firms in the financial industry. It’s past time that they treat crypto like the lawbreakers that they are, and prioritize the interests of customers, investors, markets, and financial stability above the profits of the crypto industry. This means refusing to blindly accept the pixie dust of ‘innovation,’ the fairytale of crypto riches, the claims of so-called ‘visionaries,’ and, yes, the piles of cash that continue to be stuffed into too many pockets to influence Washington policymaking. Enough is enough. The lying, cheating, and stealing business model of crypto has to be stopped.”



Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies—including many in finance—to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit




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