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Binance Founder CZ Becomes World’s Richest Prisoner with 4-Month Sentence

May 1, 2024
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Changpeng Zhao, the founder of cryptocurrency firm Binance, has become the world’s richest prisoner after he was sentenced to four months in jail on Tuesday, the Telegraph reported. Mr Zhao was sentenced by a Seattle Court after pleading guilty to violations of US anti-money laundering and sanctions laws last year. A US judge handed down him a four-month sentence despite prosecutors pushing for a three-year term, as the court took into account the “positive nature” of Mr Zhao’s past behaviour.

Now, Mr Zhao’s prison sentence will make him one of the wealthiest inmates ever, boasting a net worth of around $33 billion through his ownership of Binance, the outlet reported. The 47-year-old had stepped down as CEO of Binance last year as part of a deal with US authorities. He still retains an estimated 90% stake in Binance.

According to AFP, Changpeng Zhao pleaded guilty to violating US anti-money laundering laws and Binance agreed in February to pay $4.3 billion to settle charges. Prosecutors had asked the judge to impose three years behind bars for a crime that typically results in probation, according to a court filing. 

Binance was created in 2017 and cornered much of the crypto-trading market, turning its founder and chief executive Changpeng Zhao into a billionaire. Binance runs crypto exchanges and provides other services around the world, but it took a severe hit when crypto markets collapsed and regulators began probing the legality of its business.

Notably, Mr Zhao’s comes weeks after Sam Bankman-Fried, chief executive of collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, was sentenced to 25 years for a multibillion-dollar fraud. He was found guilty of fraud after he was found to have siphoned off billions of dollars in customer funds for high-risk investments.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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