HomeBlockchainRegulationThe former CEO of Binance Changpeng "CZ" Zhao sentenced to three years...

The former CEO of Binance Changpeng “CZ” Zhao sentenced to three years in prison for money laundering

After confessing to breaking money laundering laws, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, former CEO of Binance, the leading global cryptocurrency exchange, has been sentenced to three years in prison. 

Let’s see below all the details. 

“CZ” Zhao, former CEO of Binance, sentenced to prison 

As anticipated, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, former CEO of Binance, will have to serve three years in prison for allowing the cryptocurrency exchange to violate federal laws on sanctions and money laundering.

This sentence was made public Tuesday evening by the United States Department of Justice.

The lawyers of the Department of Justice have filed a condemnation note stating that Zhao must serve 36 months in prison and pay a fine of $50 million.

This after having pleaded guilty to violating the Bank Secrecy Act last November.

The document emphasizes that the conviction will send a clear message to Zhao and the entire world: violating the laws of the United States for profit carries significant consequences.

Binance and Zhao: from 18 months of plea bargaining to a harsher sentence

Initially, Zhao faced up to 18 months in prison according to the terms of his plea deal. 

However, the Department of Justice argued that the extent of Zhao’s misconduct was much broader than expected, making a harsher penalty necessary. 

Due to the lack of an effective anti-money laundering program on Binance, numerous illicit actors have exploited the exchange to conceal the origin of funds.

This has happened through cryptocurrency mixers, transactions related to ransomware attacks, and the transfer of money from illegal activities such as the darknet market and exchange hacks.

The Department of Justice stated that sentencing guidelines are not adequate to punish misconduct of this magnitude, and the $50 million fine, already agreed upon by both parties, reflects the seriousness of the violations committed.

Zhao has also waived the right to appeal a sentence of up to 18 months. The hearing, originally scheduled for the end of February, has been postponed to April 30.

Since appearing in court in Seattle, Washington, Zhao has not been able to return to Dubai, where his partner and some of his children live.

Even Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has admitted guilt to its charges and agreed to pay a massive fine of $4.3 billion.

Furthermore, Binance will accept the supervision of a controller appointed by the court, whose name has not yet been announced.

The Philippine SEC requires the removal of Binance apps from Google and Apple app stores

The Philippine authorities are stepping up their action against Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, which has been facing issues in the country since 2023. 

The Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has sent separate letters dated April 19 to Google and Apple, requesting the removal of apps operated by Binance from the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, respectively.

According to the president of the SEC, Emilio B. Aquino, the presence of Binance apps represents a threat to the security of investments of Filipino citizens. 

Binance’s apps and websites violate local laws, and their removal is seen as a necessary measure to prevent further expansion of illegal activities and protect the public from potential economic harm.

The Philippine SEC had already warned the public about the use of Binance and had started considering blocking the website and other Binance platforms as early as November 2023. 

The request for the removal of the apps by the SEC is part of a broader effort to protect investors and counter violations of national laws by the cryptocurrency exchange.

Alessia Pannone
Alessia Pannone
Graduated in communication sciences, currently student of the master's degree course in publishing and writing. Writer of articles from an SEO perspective, with care for indexing in search engines.