Binance Founder Ordered To Stay Put In The US In Ongoing Probe

Binance Founder Ordered To Stay Put In The US In Ongoing Probe

Binance Co-founder and former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Changpeng CZ Zhao, has been confined to remain in the United States in advance of his sentencing expected to take place next year.

Former Binance CEO No Longer Leaving The US

The Binance co-founder has been ordered by US District Judge Richard Jones to remain in the country in a ruling on Thursday. Zhao was instructed to stay in the US due to the significance of his recent guilty plea.

The ruling read:

As relief, the government requests that Mr. Zhao be required to remain in the continental United States in the period between his plea and sentencing.

The Thursday ruling reversed an earlier decision that would have allowed Zhao to return to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Jones acknowledged in his decision the arguments provided by Zhao, which ordinarily would result in the government’s motion being denied. 

However, Jones highlighted the distinctive features of Zhao’s case. These include his riches, the absence of an extradition treaty with the UAE, and Zhao’s family living in the UAE.

Furthermore, the judge also highlighted that Zhao poses a flight risk if he were allowed to return to the UAE. This is due to the former CEO’s substantial assets and the meager connections he has to the United States.

Additionally, knowing that the Binance ex-CEO faces a potential 18-month sentence in prison also sparks a possible flight risk. Jones asserted that Zhao is asking for a lesser sentence, which might lead to 18 months of incarceration as indicated by the government.

The judge stated that despite promises that CZ wouldn’t flee if permitted to travel to the UAE, the court wasn’t convinced. This led to the order that he should remain in the US until his sentencing on February 23, 2024.

So far, the court stated in the ruling that its decision is not based on Zhao’s citizenship and alienage. “The risk of the defendant not showing up is posed by the circumstances surrounding their combined facts,” the court said.

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao’s Guilty Plea

Last Month, the former Binance CEO pleaded guilty and stepped down from the cryptocurrency exchange he founded about 6 years ago. Zhao’s plea to one count of violating the Bank Secrecy Act was formally accepted by Judge Jones.

Jones accepted the plea after a thorough consideration report and recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge which found him guilty.

Jones wrote:

This Court, having considered the Report and Recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge, to which there has been no timely objection, hereby accepts the plea of guilty of the defendant.

His plea was accepted just over two weeks after both he and Binance acknowledged a number of criminal and civil charges. These include failure to maintain an appropriate anti-money laundering program, running an unlicensed money transfer business, and violation of sanctions law.

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