Binance Founder CZ Sentenced to Four Months In Prison

Binance founder CZ received a four-month prison sentence for money laundering charges

By: Zack Guzman

April 30, 2024

The former chief executive of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, who goes by "CZ,", was sentenced to four months in prison on Tuesday after his guilty plea to violating U.S. money-laundering laws.

District Judge Richard Jones delivered his ruling in Seattle court despite the fact that prosecutors had pushed for three years.

"There needs to be an effort by this court to impose a sentence that is appropriate and reasonable," Judge Jones said before landing on four months. He also reiterated that it was clear that Zhao prioritized “Binance’s growth and profits over compliance with U.S. laws and regulations.”

Prosecutors had said sentencing CZ to twice the maximum 18 months recommended under federal sentencing guidelines would reflect the magnitude of his violations and deter others from committing similar crimes by sending the message that "the right choice, every time, is to comply with the law."

It's a steep fall from grace for Zhao, 47, who stepped down as Binance's CEO last November, when both he and his exchange admitted to evading anti-money laundering requirements under the Bank Secrecy Act after an extensive investigation from U.S. regulators.

Binance earlier agreed to a $4.32 billion criminal penalty. Binance perpetrated sanctions violations of more than $898 million, according to prosecutors, and “violated U.S. law on an unprecedented scale.”


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