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Binance founder, Changpeng Zhao, bags 4 months in jail for money laundering

Changpeng Zhao, the creator of Binance, was sentenced to four months in prison in Seattle, Washington, for money laundering, unauthorized money transmission, and other crimes.
According to Richard Jones, the presiding judge, Zhao prioritized “Binance’s growth and profits over compliance with US laws and regulations” at a sentencing hearing on Tuesday.

According to US investigators, Zhao purposefully turned a blind eye to transactions that fueled terrorism, the illegal drug trade, and child sexual abuse.

“I failed here. I deeply regret my failure, and I am sorry,” Zhao told the court.

“I believe the first step of taking responsibility is to fully recognise the mistakes. Here I failed to implement an adequate anti-money-laundering programme. I realise now the seriousness of that mistake.”

The four-month sentence is lower than the three years prosecutors sought.

Prosecutors told the judge a tough sentence would send a clear signal to other would-be criminals.

“We are not suggesting that Mr. Zhao is Sam Bankman-Fried or that he is a monster,” Kevin Mosley, one of the prosecutors, said.

“But Zhao’s conduct wasn’t a mistake. This wasn’t a regulatory ‘oops.”

On November 21, 2023, Zhao pleaded guilty to money laundering.

Binance also agreed to pay more than $4 billion in fines and other penalties.

Meanwhile, Binance subsidiary in Nigeria is facing charges for illicit foreign exchange (FX) transactions.

Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance’s regional manager for Africa, and Tigran Gambaryan, its head of financial crime compliance, were charged with tax evasion and money laundering by the federal government.

The duo were arrested and detained on February 28.

However, Anjarwalla escaped custody in March.

Zhao’s sentence is coming less than one month after Sam Bankman-Fried, former CEO and founder of Futures Exchange (FTX), was sentenced to 25 years in prison after being convicted of defrauding his customers, investors, and lenders.


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