April 30 in Changpeng Zhao sentencing what to expect

April 30 In Changpeng Zhao Sentencing What To Expect



Former Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao is scheduled to appear before a federal judge more than 160 days after pleading guilty to one count of criminal charges in a plea deal with US authorities.

On April 30, Judge Richard Jones in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington will hear plaintiffs and CZ lawyers in one of the most anticipated legal proceedings in the crypto space since the conviction and sentence of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. . Zhao's sentencing hearing has been delayed once, but at the time of publication, is expected to take place at the end of the month.

In the year In November 2023, Zhao pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Bank Secrecy Act for failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering (AML) program while at Binance. He resigned as CEO as part of a plea agreement, in which the crypto exchange and Zhao agreed to pay $4.3 billion to settle “civil regulatory enforcement actions” in the United States – which did not include charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). ).

Under U.S. sentencing guidelines, Judge Jones said CZ could face up to 10 years in federal prison, but the charge carries a possible sentence of 12 to 18 months. Bankman-Fried received a 25-year sentence on March 25, but aside from both cases involving high-profile members of the crypto space, there are few similarities. Some suggested Zhao could face no jail time if he pleads guilty and cooperates with authorities.

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” i say. [these cases] They are not comparable in terms of charges, but they are extremely comparable in terms of what they mean [Justice Department]The SEC and the federal government are making it clear that they will not tolerate bad behavior,” Mo Vella, former director of administration for then-Vice President Joe Biden, told Cointelegraph.

Vela added that even if the judge handed down a stiff sentence against CZ, US authorities may be trying to “send a message to illegal players in the crypto space.” However, the former Binance CEO speculated that the judge might “see some leniency” because of Zhao's cooperation and guilty plea.

RELATED: What to expect at Sam Bankman-Fried's sentencing hearing

Mark Binney, former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, told Cointelegraph that CZ felt more “like a regulatory offense” than Bankman-Fried's criminal case. However, he said there was concern that events surrounding Hamas' attacks on Israel could influence the judge overseeing CZ's sentence.

In the wake of the Hamas attacks, many reports have surfaced that links to crypto are being used to fund terrorist organizations. The lawsuit may not be entirely unrelated to the former Binance CEO's alleged failure to protect the exchange's AML program and the exchange's civil suit.

“There is that case against Binance where the wild card and public sentiment can align with what the government feels about it. […] They accused them of embezzling their money in connection with Hamas,” Bini said. “Something like ‘That […] A perceived regulatory violation can be framed in some way by showing that it has real-world consequences, prosecutors can argue, should be taken into account.

Benny added:

“The facts of the case may have been so compelling to the judge that CZ felt that a more significant sentence was warranted.”

Since his guilty plea, Zhao has remained largely free to travel around the United States on a $175 million bond. His legal team had made several requests for the former Binance CEO to travel to the United Arab Emirates to visit his family before the hearing, all of which the judge denied.

Magazine: US law enforcement agencies are turning up the heat on crypto-related crimes.

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