Home Markets Binance founder CZ's criminal sentencing postponed until end of April

Binance founder CZ's criminal sentencing postponed until end of April

by SuperiorInvest

Changpeng Zhao, founder and CEO of Binance, attends the Viva Technology conference dedicated to innovation and startups at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris on June 16, 2022.

Benoit Tessier | Reuters

The criminal sentence of binance Founder Changpeng Zhao's case on a money laundering charge has been postponed until April 30, according to a notice Monday in federal court in Seattle.

That record entry did not explain what would be a two-month delay in the sentencing of Zhao, a Canadian citizen widely known as “CZ” who is free on a $175 million release bond in the United States.

Zhao's lawyer, William Burck, declined to comment when asked about the postponement. CNBC has asked the Justice Department about the delay.

Federal sentencing guidelines suggest a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison for Zhao, but prosecutors have reportedly considered asking for a harsher sentence.

Zhao pleaded guilty on Nov. 21 to one count of failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program at Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange. As part of that plea, he agreed to resign as CEO of Binance and pay a $50 million fine.

At the same time, Binance agreed to pay $4.3 billion in fines and restitution as part of its guilty plea to conspiracy to conduct an unlicensed money transmission business, conducting such business, and violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

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“Binance was allowing illicit actors to transact freely, supporting activities ranging from child sexual abuse to illegal narcotics and terrorism,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said when the company and Zhao pleaded guilty.

Zhao was originally scheduled to be sentenced on February 23.

The judge in Zhao's case in early December rejected his request to be able to travel to his home in the United Arab Emirates before being sentenced.

U.S. District Judge Richard Jones cited Zhao's “enormous wealth” and lack of ties to the United States in determining that he was a flight risk.

In late December, Jones rejected another offer from Zhao to travel to the United Arab Emirates. Zhao in her new application had said that she wanted to travel home for the “hospitalization and surgery” of a person in her life.

He had offered to post his capital on Binance as collateral for his return.

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