The Criminal Sentencing of Changpeng Zhao Postponed to Late April

The Criminal Sentencing of Changpeng Zhao Postponed to Late April

The criminal sentencing of Binance founder Changpeng Zhao on a money laundering rule charge has been postponed until April 30, according to a notice Monday in Seattle federal court.

The docket entry failed to clarify the reason behind a two-month delay in sentencing Zhao, commonly referred to as “CZ,” who remains free on a $175 million release bond in the United States.

Zhao has been facing money laundering and other charges amid a crackdown on crypto exchange Binance, by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Originally, Zhaoโ€™s sentencing was scheduled to happen by the end of February this month.

Although the cause for the delay is not disclosed in the docket entry, Zhao’s attorney, William Burck, declined to comment when approached for clarification. Federal sentencing guidelines indicate a maximum prison term of 18 months for Zhao.

Nonetheless, reports indicate that prosecutors may pursue a more severe sentence in his case.

On November 21, Zhao entered a guilty plea to a charge connected to the failure to uphold an effective anti-money laundering program at Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.

As part of his plea agreement, he consented to resign from his position as Binance’s CEO and to pay a substantial fine of $50 million.

Binance Pays Hefty Fines

Binance agreed to settle its case by paying $4.3 billion in fines and restitution. This settlement was part of Binance’s guilty plea to charges of conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business, engaging in such a business, and violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

In early December, the judge overseeing Zhao’s case denied his request to return to his residence in the United Arab Emirates before his sentencing.

U.S. District Judge Richard Jones justified his decision by citing Zhao’s considerable wealth and lack of ties to the United States, thus considering him a potential flight risk.

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