Sentencing for Binance’s CZ Delayed, Now Set for Late April

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Written By Elizabeth Monroe

Postponement of Changpeng Zhao’s Sentencing

The sentencing of Changpeng Zhao, the founder of Binance, on charges related to money laundering regulations has been deferred until April 30. This announcement came from a notice issued by the Seattle federal court on Monday.

Who is Changpeng Zhao, Binance CEO ousted for US crimes? | Reuters
Credits: Reuters

The reasons behind the two-month delay in Zhao’s sentencing were not disclosed in the court’s docket entry.

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Zhao’s Legal Situation and Plea Agreement

Zhao, also known as “CZ” and a Canadian national, is currently on a $175 million release bond in the United States. His attorney, William Burck, chose not to comment on the postponement.

The Department of Justice has also been contacted by CNBC for further details on this delay. According to federal sentencing guidelines, Zhao could face a maximum of 18 months in prison, although there have been discussions about a potentially harsher sentence by the prosecutors.

Zhao’s Guilty Plea and Penalties

On November 21, Zhao admitted guilt to failing to implement an effective anti-money laundering program at Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange globally.

As part of his plea agreement, he consented to resign from his role as CEO of Binance and to pay a fine of $50 million.

Concurrently, Binance consented to pay fines and restitution amounting to $4.3 billion, acknowledging its guilt in conspiring to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business and breaching the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

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Treasury’s Stance on Binance’s Activities

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen highlighted the gravity of the situation when Binance and Zhao entered their guilty pleas.

She pointed out that Binance facilitated transactions for illicit actors, supporting a range of illegal activities from child sexual abuse to terrorism.

Initial Sentencing Schedule and Travel Requests

Zhao was initially set to be sentenced on February 23. However, U.S. District Judge Richard Jones had earlier denied Zhao’s request to travel to his home in the United Arab Emirates before the sentencing, citing his significant wealth and lack of ties to the United States as reasons for considering him a flight risk.

Judge Richard A. Jones, also known for leadership on diversity, to be honored | The Seattle Times
Credits: DepositPhotos

Despite a subsequent request by Zhao for permission to travel due to a personal emergency, Judge Jones once again denied the request, maintaining the stance on Zhao’s potential flight risk despite the offer to post his equity in Binance as security.

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