Home Binance founder Changpeng Zhao receives a four-month jail term

Binance founder Changpeng Zhao receives a four-month jail term


  • Binance founder Changpeng Zhao gets 4-month prison term for money laundering charges.
  • Zhao pays $50 million in plea deal with US authorities for Binance's failure to report.
  • Initial settlement involved Justice Department, CFTC, and Treasury Department.

The founder of the crypto exchange giant Binance, Changpeng Zhao, has been handed a four-month prison sentence.

A Seattle federal judge has held the Chinese-Canadian entrepreneur personally responsible for his actions, handing down the term in light of his guilty plea to money laundering charges.

Binance founder Changpeng Zhao sentenced

As we reported in November last year, Zhao was part of an elaborate plea agreement with U.S. authorities. The company shifted billions of Tether (USDT) stablecoins to cover the cost of the settlement, which caught the company red-handed for money laundering.

Zhao would personally pay $50 million for his part in the scheme involving Binance’s failure to report more than 100,000 suspicious transactions to government watchdogs.

This consistent rule-breaking and failure to report illicit transactions would reach an estimated $898 million before the U.S. government cracked down on the crypto company.

The founder is still the largest controlling stakeowner in the company despite stepping down when the settlement was agreed. The initial settlement was negotiated between the Justice Department, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the Treasury Department.

The government entities had been pursuing an 18-month sentence, which was then escalated last week to 36 months, according to court filings. However, the term handed down by Judge Richard Jones in Seattle was considerably lighter than expected.

This has been a surprise for spectators as the company was linked to illicit transactions involving terrorist groups such as Hamas, al Qaeda, and ISIS. So, it was presumed that the push for a longer term would stick to Zhao, but Judge Jones didn’t hit Zhao with a landmark stay behind bars.

Zhao’s legal representation had pleaded for a sentence that was comparable to those of other rule breakers in the same crypto arena, saying “No defendant in a remotely similar BSA case has ever been sentenced to incarceration. Mr. Zhao should not be the first.”

Onlookers and commentators had projected that Zhao would face the same fate as FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried. Convictions for fraud and conspiracy were pinned on the crypto entrepreneur and his now-shattered company to a landmark 25 years in prison.

In conclusion to the sentencing, Zhao agreed not to file any appeal to the decision for 18 months.

Image: Binance Newsroom.

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Brian-Damien Morgan
Tech Journalist

Brian-Damien Morgan is an award-winning journalist and features writer. He was lucky enough to work in the print sector for many UK newspapers before embarking on a successful career as a digital broadcaster and specialist. His work has spanned the public and private media sectors of the United Kingdom for almost two decades. Since 2007, Brian has continued to add to a long list of publications and institutions, most notably as Editor of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, winning multiple awards for his writing and digital broadcasting efforts. Brian would then go on to be integral to the Legacy 2014,…

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