Former Binance CEO’s sentencing delayed until April

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For­mer Binance CEO Chang­peng Zhao’s sen­tenc­ing on mon­ey laun­der­ing charges was delayed until April, accord­ing to a court notice.

The delay push­es Zhao’s sen­tenc­ing back two months. He orig­i­nal­ly was set to be sen­tenced on Feb. 23 after plead­ing guilty to the charges late last year. The for­mer exec­u­tive, per sen­tenc­ing guide­lines, is expect­ed to face around 18 months in prison.

A report from the New York Times late last year sug­gest­ed that offi­cials could seek a “stiffer penalty.”

Zhao stepped down from his posi­tion at Binance as part of a set­tle­ment deal with the Depart­ment of Jus­tice. He also agreed to pay a $50 mil­lion fine.

Read more: Here are the details of Binance and Chang­peng Zhao’s plea deal

Cur­rent­ly, Zhao is out on a $175 mil­lion bail bond. How­ev­er, he’s unable to leave the US. Late last year, he asked a US court to allow him leave to vis­it his fam­i­ly in the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates but was denied. Zhao is a cit­i­zen of Cana­da and the UAE. 

Accord­ing to a pre­vi­ous­ly sealed Decem­ber court fil­ing, Zhao pledged his equi­ty in Binance.US, which could be worth over $4 bil­lion based on pre­vi­ous fund­ing fig­ures. The court denied his request because the US does not have an extra­di­tion treaty with the UAE. 

The gov­ern­ment argued that Zhao could use his “sig­nif­i­cant assets and strong con­nec­tions to the UAE,” which would “allow him to evade his oblig­a­tion to return to the Unit­ed States for sentencing.”

Binance paid $4.3 bil­lion in fines and reached set­tle­ment agree­ments with the DOJ, Trea­sury, and the Com­mod­i­ty Futures Trad­ing Com­mis­sion. The exchange plead­ed guilty to vio­lat­ing mon­ey sanc­tions laws, con­duct­ing an unli­censed mon­ey trans­mit­ting busi­ness and anti-mon­ey laun­der­ing violations. 

Binance and Zhao “chose not to com­ply with US legal and reg­u­la­to­ry require­ments because it deter­mined that doing so would lim­it its abil­i­ty to attract and main­tain US users,” the DOJ said at the time.

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