Canadian Crypto Head Will Be Sentenced For Money Laundering

( — United States authorities will soon sentence Canadian crypto head Changpeng Zhao, the founder of Binance, for his role in a massive money laundering scheme that saw various militant groups launder money through his cryptocurrency exchange platform.

Changpeng Zhao’s conviction comes from a plea deal he accepted in November 2023, where the crypto head admitted to various charges relating to his facilitation of money laundering through his platform, Binance. The now-disgraced CEO also admitted to participating in a conspiracy, along with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and could spend several years in prison for his various criminal offenses.

Prosecutors in Zhao’s case requested that the crypto head receive 36 months in prison due to his admitted violation of United States law and his role in the aforementioned money laundering scheme. Zhao could also receive a fine totaling up to $50 million for his crimes. The prosecutors claim that Zhoa purposely ignored illegal transactions from various groups, including militant groups from the Middle East like ISIS, and as a result, Binance gained financially. Authorities believe that Zhao ignored at least 100,000 suspicious money transfers from militant groups, but the exact figure remains unknown.

Zhao also ignored suspicious transactions from criminal organizations and military groups connected with Russian President Vladimir Putin. When federal authorities began pursuing criminal charges against Zhao, they cited his platform’s indirect support of militant organizations as a national security risk. Zhao had to step down from the platform once the federal government began releasing statements about the criminal proceedings against the Binance CEO, prompting Binance to select Richard Teng as Zhao’s replacement.

Despite Zhao admitting to indirectly financing terrorist groups like ISIS by ignoring their use of his platform and his confession of participation in conspiracies to violate United States laws, Binance continues to grow in the Canadian crypto head’s absence. As of November 2023, Binance had a value of more than $65 billion. After Zhao left the company after the scandal broke, Binance’s value continued to climb, and the platform is currently valued at an estimated $120 billion. Investors continue to flock to Binance as the primary cryptocurrency exchange platform, with the service gaining popularity after the infamous Sam Bankman-Fried case made national headlines.

Zhao’s case immediately drew comparisons to Sam Brankman-Fried’s, as both crypto heads used their cryptocurrency exchange services for criminal acts. Unlike Zhao, however, Bankman-Fried committed multiple acts of fraud and intentionally misled investors. Bankman-Fried could spend decades in prison for his role in the FTX scandal, while Zhao would likely regain his freedom after just three years behind bars.

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