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Binance Founder Sentenced

Binance founder Changpeng Zhao was sentenced to four months in prison yesterday for violating US money laundering laws and federal sanctions at the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange. The sentence is less than the three years prosecutors had sought and the 12- to 18-month sentencing guidelines for the crime.

Zhao, a UAE and Canada dual citizen, pleaded guilty in November. He agreed to resign as CEO and pay a $50M fine for failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program, which resulted in sanctions violations linked to users in Iran, Cuba, Syria, and Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine. Binance also agreed to pay $4.3B in fines and forfeiture (see 101). The news comes a month after former FTX executive Sam Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years for fraud tied to his crypto company.

Under the plea agreement, Zhao waived the right to appeal any sentence up to 18 months. Zhao has an estimated $43B fortune, including his Binance ownership, and will become the richest person ever to serve time in US federal prison.

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