Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao Faces 18 Months in Prison

Binance’s CZ is Approaching Middle East Investors for Crypto Recovery Fund
Source: Bloomberg

Changpeng Zhao, the now former chief executive of Binance, pleaded guilty today to violating criminal U.S. anti-money-laundering requirements. The guilty plea deal may preserve the company’s ability to continue operating. Along with pleading guilty, CZ resigned from his position as Binance CEO and now faces 18 months in prison.

While the felony charge Zhao pleaded guilty to carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and $500,000 in fines, it’s not immediately clear what federal prosecutors will recommend he ultimately serve under the agreement. However, it’s expected that the former Binance CEO will serve at most 18 months in prison.

James Seyffart, a reporter for Bloomberg, says he was shocked to see the potential time served for CZ, compared to rival exchange founder Sam Bankman-Fried. “That’s likely to be a hell of a lot less than SBF,” the reporter tweeted.

Also Read: Binance to Pay $4.3 Billion in Settlement with US Government

CZ’s lawyers said today in court that a decision on sentencing could be delayed by up to six months. Zhao’s agreement to plea guilty also includes a waiver of his right to appeal. However, the sentence must not surpass 18 months.

As part of the charges and guilty plea by CZ, Binance will also pay $4.3 billion in settlement to the US Government.