Binance founder Changpeng Zhao sentenced to prison for bank secrecy act violation

Binance founder Changpeng Zhao

Binance founder Changpeng Zhao (CZ) was sentenced by a Seattle court to four months in jail for violating the Bank Secrecy Act.

This sentence is well below the 36 months requested by the Department of Justice, which alleged the “scope and ramifications of Zhao’s conduct were massive.”

The former Binance CEO pleaded guilty in November 2023 and agreed to step down from his role as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Binance also pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $4.3 billion in fines to various federal agencies.

As part of the plea deal, Zhao waived his right to appeal any sentence up to 18 months in prison and agreed to pay a $50 million fine.

The judge also slapped Zhao with an additional $50 million fine, a small fraction of his estimated $33 billion net worth.

According to prosecutors, Binance knowingly evaded anti-money laundering regulations, allowing customers from sanctioned countries like Iran, Cuba, and Syria to transact on the platform in violation of U.S. sanctions.