• Thursday, June 20, 2024

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Binaca founder Changpeng Zhao becomes world’s richest prisoner

Binance was created in 2017 and cornered much of the crypto-trading market, but it took a severe hit when crypto markets collapsed and regulators began probing the legality of its business.

Zhao hails from Lianyungang in Jiangsu province, China. At the age of 12, he and his family relocated to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (Photo credit: Getty images)

By: Vibhuti Pathak

As rare as it sounds, this prisoner who received a sentence for jail by the Seattle court is the founder and chief executive of Binaca company, a cryptocurrency firm. He was sentenced after pleading guilty to violations of US anti-money laundering and sanctions last year.

A US judge had given him a four-month sentence despite prosecutors pushing for a three-year term, considering his positive behaviour, his sentence was decreased. But the interesting part is that he is a billionaire with a net worth of $33 billion through his ownership of Binaca. He will become one of the wealthiest inmates.

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 per cent 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.

But attorneys for Zhao countered in a filing that being punished with probation is just, appropriate and in line with legal precedent. They also mentioned Zhao’s acceptance of responsibility along with his ‘philanthropic track record.’

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.

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.

Zhao hails from Lianyungang in Jiangsu province, China. At the age of 12, he and his family relocated to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Originally, his parents were educators in China, with his father even serving as a university instructor until being labeled a “pro-bourgeois intellect” and subsequently exiled to rural regions not long after Zhao’s birth.

In Canada, Zhao shouldered familial responsibilities by working various service jobs during his teenage years, such as roles at McDonald’s and a gas station.

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