Changpeng Zhao Sentencing Delayed Until April

By Mark Hunter

1 day agoWed Feb 14 2024 07:55:23


Reading Time: 2 minutes

  • Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s founder, will be sentenced in April for failing anti-money laundering compliance
  • No reason has been given for the delay in sentencing, which was due to take place next week
  • Zhao will have to remain in the US amid concerns of flight risk.

Changpeng Zhao, the founder and former CEO of Binance, has seen his sentencing for failure to implement anti-money laundering policies pushed back to April from its initial date of February 23. US District Judge Richard Jones in Seattle made the decision on Monday, rescheduling Zhao’s sentencing without providing an explanation, with Zaho still required in the country until sentencing. Billionaire Zhao entered a guilty plea in November as part of a comprehensive agreement with prosecutors, allowing the exchange to continue its operations.

No Reason Given for Delay

Zhao was expecting to be sentenced next week but he will now have to wait another two months to learn his fate. Under the terms of the agreement, Binance agreed to pay $4.3 billion in fines and forfeitures while Zhao himself relinquished his role as Binance’s CEO. 

While he could theoretically face a maximum of 10 years in prison, expectations are that he will receive a sentence of no more than 18 months given his cooperation. Additionally, Zhao consented to a $50 million fine.

Zhao Must Stay in the US

Zhao is currently out on a $175 million bond but is required to stay in the US until his sentencing, as ruled by Jones last year. Prosecutors had argued that there was a risk Zhao might not return if allowed to leave due to his UAE citizenship and limited ties to the US, and, despite Zhao’s offer to use his $4.5 billion equity interest in Binance’s US arm as security, the judge denied his request to return to the UAE in December.

Although Zhao’s legal team highlighted the hardship an extended stay would impose on him and his family, Jones agreed to a stay on the sentencing, meaning that Zhao must now remain in the US for the next 11 weeks until his sentencing in April.