SEATTLE (AP) — Binance founder Changpeng Zhao was sentenced Tuesday to four months in prison for allowing rampant money laundering on the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.

A judge credited Zhao for taking responsibility for his wrongdoing but said he was troubled by the now-former CEO’s decision to ignore U.S. banking requirements that would have slowed the company’s explosive growth. The sentence was far less than the three years prosecutors had sought, but defense attorneys had asked that Zhao spend no time in prison.

“Despite wealth, power or status, no person — regardless of wealth — is immune from prosecution or above the laws of the United States,” U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones told Zhao.

Zhao pleaded guilty in November to one count of failing to maintain an anti-money-laundering program and stepped down as Binance agreed to pay $4.3 billion to settle related allegations. U.S. officials said Zhao deliberately looked the other way as people conducted transactions that supported child sex abuse, the illegal drug trade and terrorism.



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