Binance founder should be jailed for 36 months, US prosecutors say

    2024.04.24 | exchangesranking | 63onlookers

    As the United States authorities are preparing to give a sentence to Binance founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao on April 30, prosecutors have requested jail time for the former CEO. 

    Binance founder Zhao should serve 36 months in prison after pleading guilty to violating laws against money laundering, U.S. prosecutors said in a court filing on April 23.

    “Given the magnitude of Zhao’s willful violation of U.S. law and its consequences, an above-guideline sentence of 36 months is warranted,” the prosecutors wrote in the filing to the U.S. district court for the Western District of Washington.

    “That sentence, together with the agreed $50 million fine, is sufficient but not greater than necessary to balance the relevant 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors and achieve the goals of sentencing,” the filing added.

    Changpeng Zhao at the Viva Technology conference in Paris in 2022. Source: CNBC

    Zhao pleaded guilty to violating money laundering requirements in the U.S. and stepped down from CEO position at Binance in November 2023. Zhao also subsequently faced a $50 million fine served directly to him, in addition to larger penalties to Binance.

    According to online reports, federal sentencing guidelines set a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison for Zhao, who had agreed not to appeal against any stretch up to that length. He has been free in the U.S. on a $175 million bond.

    After CZ admitted to violating U.S. money laundering laws, he and his firm, Binance, agreed to pay the U.S. government $4.3 billion in fines to end the criminal case. In return, Binance was allowed to continue operating while complying with U.S. laws.

    Related: Binance sued in Canada for securities law violations

    Despite stepping down from Binance, CZ remains involved in the cryptocurrency industry. In March, Zhao announced a new educational project devoted to crypto and blockchain, stressing that the initiative will have “no new tokens.”

    Named Giggle Academy, the project specifically targets a much younger population, or two- to three-year-olds, according to a CZ post on X on April 18.

    Source: Changpeng Zhao

    On April 24, CZ showcased the logo of his new educational project. “We wanted the Giggle Academy logo to show youth, fun, positive energy, and growth. We also want to show respect to our ‘Binance heritage’,” CZ wrote.

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