The U.S. is requesting a 3-year prison term for former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao.

The U.S. prosecutors are pushing for a three-year prison sentence for the former CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, on charges related to facilitating money laundering. This request exceeds the standard sentencing guidelines, which typically suggest a range of 12 to 18 months for such offenses. The prosecutors argue that a 36-month custodial sentence is necessary to emphasize the severity of the crimes committed by Zhao, promote adherence to the law, deter future violations, and ensure that justice is served appropriately.

‘Unprecedented scale’ of financial crime

In the eyes of the prosecutors, Changpeng Zhao’s actions represent a violation of U.S. laws on an unparalleled scale. They accuse him of displaying a deliberate disregard for Binance’s legal obligations and allowing the exchange to operate in what they described as a “Wild West” fashion. The memorandum filed with the court outlines the prosecutors’ belief that Zhao took significant risks assuming that he would evade detection or face minimal consequences if caught. However, with the legal system now involved, the court will determine the appropriate repercussions for Zhao’s transgressions.

Notably, this sentencing request comes in the wake of separate legal actions taken against Binance itself, including allegations by U.S. regulatory bodies of violations concerning the Bank Secrecy Act and sanctions related to Iran. As part of these proceedings, Binance has been directed to pay considerable fines amounting to $4.3 billion, while Zhao has agreed to a $50 million penalty.

Changpeng Zhao resigned as CEO of Binance in November of the prior year as part of his plea agreement. Richard Teng, the former head of the Abu Dhabi markets regulator, assumed the role following Zhao’s departure. When contacted for a response, Zhao was not immediately available for comment through the social media platform X. In the same vein, Binance has not yet responded to requests for statements regarding the ongoing legal situation.

The sentencing hearing, where the final decision on Changpeng Zhao’s fate will be announced, is scheduled to take place on April 30. The outcome of this case will not only be a significant moment for the former Binance CEO but could also influence future regulatory actions within the cryptocurrency industry given the scale and severity of the alleged offenses.

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