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Crypto King to Courtroom: Zhao Changpeng Could Spend 3 Years Behind Bars

Daniel Kim Views  

Three years in prison, more than double the guideline
Charged for laundering and brokering sanctioned local transactions 

Reuters United News

U.S. prosecutors have sought a three-year prison sentence for Changpeng Zhao, the founder of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. Zhao is facing charges of laundering.

According to reports from Reuters and other outlets, U.S. prosecutors requested a three-year sentence for Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, in a document submitted to the Western Federal District Court in Seattle late in the afternoon of the 23rd (local time), which is double the recommended guideline of 12-18 months imprisonment. Changpeng Zhao’s sentencing will take place on the 30th.

The prosecution stated that Zhao violated the law on an unprecedented scale and deliberately ignored Binance’s legal responsibilities, and in reflection of the seriousness of the crime and to promote respect for the law, the prosecution is seeking a sentence of 36 months, double the guideline range. They added further that Zhao assured himself that he would not be caught and that the consequences would not be serious if he were. But now he has been seen, and it’s time for the court to decide what price he must pay for his crimes.

Zhao has been under investigation by U.S. authorities since around 2020 on charges of laundering, violation of financial sanctions, and fraud, and was indicted in November last year. Zhao acknowledged being guilty of charges of violating the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). He agreed to pay a fine of $4.3 billion to the U.S. government and resigned from his position as CEO of Binance.

His charges include facilitating transactions between U.S. customers and users in sanctioned regions such as North Korea, Iran, Syria, and the Crimea Peninsula in Ukraine. The U.S. Treasury and Justice Departments are reporting that Binance failed to report or prevent suspected transactions with criminals, including the Hamas military organization Al-Qassam Brigades, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria, ransomware perpetrators, and launderers.

Experts have particularly noted the content related to North Korea. According to U.S. authorities, Binance facilitated 80 cryptocurrency transactions worth $4.37 million between U.S. customers and users in North Korea, violating sanctions against North Korea. Even Binance stated plainly on its official Twitter that it is proud to have supported the U.S. authorities in seizing $4.4 million related to organized crime in North Korea and freezing accounts.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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