- Sentencing date for Binance founder CZ shifted from February to April.
- Prosecutors hint at a potential decade-long prison term, contesting defense claims.
- CZ offers entire equity stake in Binance.US as additional security amidst legal battle.
The fate of Binance founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao hangs in the balance as his sentencing, initially slated for February 23rd, gets pushed to April 30th, following a recent notice filed in a Seattle Federal Court, as reported by CNBC. This delay comes as Zhao grapples with the ramifications of his guilty plea to money laundering charges back in November 2023.
What initially seemed like a foreseeable 18-month prison term has now taken a darker turn, with prosecutors hinting at a potential sentence nearing the statutory maximum of ten years, according to a November 24th filing. They contest the defense’s assertions of minimal flight risk and advocate for a sterner punishment.
Nevertheless, legal experts, including former SEC official John Reed Stark, opine that Zhao is more likely to face a 12-18 month sentence in a minimum-security facility, adhering to prevailing sentencing guidelines. Zhao’s defense team is anticipated to advocate for alternatives such as community service or probation in lieu of incarceration.
As Zhao awaits his fate on a $175 million bond in the United States, his plea to travel to Dubai before the trial was thwarted due to concerns about his potential flight risk. Recent developments disclose that Zhao has offered his entire equity stake in Binance.US, valued at around $4.5 billion, as additional security.
The crux of the case revolves around allegations of Binance’s non-compliance with anti-money laundering regulations, purportedly facilitating illicit activities on its platform. In a bid to resolve these charges, Zhao entered a guilty plea, and Binance reached a hefty $4.3 billion settlement with the US government. As part of this agreement, CZ relinquished his position as CEO of Binance.
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