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U.S. DOJ Requests 3-Year Sentence for Binance CZ

CZ apologizes in a letter to the presiding judge and accepts full responsibility for his actions ahead of his sentencing on April 30th.

Binance CZ

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has requested that Changpeng Zhao (Binance CZ), the co-founder of crypto exchange Binance, be sentenced to 36 months in prison, according to a memo seen by Cointab. The department added that CZ should pay a $50 million fine. The latest request comes six days before CZ’s court sentencing in the U.S.

Binance CZ in Violation of U.S. Financial Laws

After the DOJ filed its request, CZ’s defence team filed its memo stressing that no defendant with a similar Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) violation has ever faced a prison sentence. The memo proposed that the Binance boss be placed on probation, probably in home confinement in his residence in Abu Dhabi.

CZ faces criminal charges relating to Binance’s operations in its early years. He is accused of allowing the crypto exchange to perform lax know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) procedures. Prosecutors claim that Binance emerged with its leading market share because it offered its blockchain services to customers in sanctioned regions like Russia.

In November 2023, CZ admitted being guilty to charges involving sanction violations and money laundering and agreed to a $4.3 billion settlement. He also stepped down from his role as Binance CEO.

Notably, the Binance co-founder originally faced up to 18 months imprisonment over the criminal charges. The DOJ’s latest request is an extension of CZ’s prison sentence.

CZ’s sentencing hearing, previously set for February 2024, has been rescheduled to April 30.

An Apology

The Binance co-founder openly apologized and accepted full responsibility for his actions earlier today.

“There is no excuse for my failure to establish the necessary compliance controls at Binance,” he said.

CZ expressed remorse over “the poor decisions” he failed to make regarding Binance’s trading activities. His letter was accompanied by 161 others from friends, colleagues and family, all seeking leniency for his sentencing.

Mishael Nwani

Mishael Nwani is an avid crypto enthusiast with nearly four years of experience in the industry. Since 2022, he has covered topics across cryptocurrencies, NFTs, artificial intelligence, and financial markets.