Binance Founder Should Spend 36 Months Behind Bars: Prosecutors

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As U.S. authorities prepare to sentence Binance founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao on April 30, prosecutors have requested a 36-month jail term for the former CEO.

In a court filing on April 23, U.S. prosecutors argued that Zhao should serve 36 months in prison for pleading guilty to violating money laundering laws.

Binance Founder Faces 36 Months

“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 to the U.S. district court for the Western District of Washington.

They further stated, 

“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.”

Zhao’s Fall

Zhao stepped down from his CEO position at Binance in November 2023 after pleading guilty to violating money laundering requirements in the U.S. He also faced a $50 million fine directly, in addition to larger penalties imposed on Binance.

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

Binance and Zhao Paid $4.3B

After admitting to violating U.S. money laundering laws, Zhao and Binance agreed to pay the U.S. government $4.3 billion in fines to settle the criminal case. In exchange, Binance was permitted to continue its operations while complying with U.S. laws.

Notably, CZ’s defense documents stated that the Binance executive was not aware of and was never explicitly informed of the specific transactions involving criminal funds conducted on Binance; CZ was not at risk of re-offending because he should have been sentenced to probation rather than prison.

Giggle Academy

Despite stepping down from Binance, Zhao remains active in the cryptocurrency industry. In March, he announced a new educational project focused on crypto and blockchain, emphasizing that it would not introduce any new tokens.

The project, named Giggle Academy, targets a much younger demographic, specifically two-to three-year-olds, according to a post by Zhao on social media platform X on April 18.

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

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