Binance Founder CZ’s Sentencing Pushed to April, Potential Prison Term Looms
The sentencing date for Binance founder and former CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao has been postponed from February 23rd to April 30th, according to a notice filed in a Seattle Federal Court, CNBC reported. Earlier, Zhao pleaded guilty to money laundering charges in November 2023.
While originally facing a possible 18-month prison sentence, recent developments suggest a harsher punishment could be on the table for one of the most influential crypto personalities. A November 24th filing from the prosecution indicates they may argue for a sentence closer to the statutory maximum of ten years.
The prosecutors have contested the defense’s claims that Zhao poses minimal flight risk and deserves a lenient sentence.
Longer Prison Term Unlikely
Despite the prosecutors’ efforts for a harsher punishment, legal experts like former SEC official John Reed Stark believe a 12-18 month sentence at a minimum-security facility remains more likely under current sentencing guidelines. Zhao’s legal team is expected to push for alternative options like community service or probation instead of jail time.
Currently, Zhao remains in the United States on a $175 million bond awaiting his sentencing. His previous request to travel to Dubai before the trial was denied due to flight risk concerns. Recent reports revealed he offered his entire equity in Binance.US (valued at approximately $4.5 billion) as additional security.
This case stems from accusations that Binance failed to comply with anti-money laundering regulations, allegedly allowing illegal activities on its platform. To settle these charges, Zhao pleaded guilty and the exchange reached a $4.3 billion agreement with the US government. CZ also stepped down as CEO of Binance as part of the agreement.