Court Orders Binance’s CZ to Stay in US Until Sentencing

Judge Richard Jones of the Seattle district court in the United States has mandated that Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, the founder of the cryptocurrency exchange Binance, must stay in the U.S. until his sentencing scheduled for February 2024. This directive, issued on December 7, follows Zhao’s admission of guilt to money laundering charges on November 21. Facing a potential prison term of up to 18 months, Zhao has consented not to appeal any sentence within this duration.

In his ruling, Judge Jones pointed out Zhao’s substantial international assets and his lack of significant connections in the United States. He emphasized that Zhao’s family resides in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where Zhao appears to enjoy a privileged status. These factors, according to Judge Jones, increase the likelihood of Zhao fleeing if permitted to return to the UAE.

The decision aligns with the concerns of federal prosecutors who previously argued that ensuring Zhao’s return from the UAE would be challenging. Although Zhao’s plea was accepted on December 6, the decision regarding his return to Dubai, where he lives, was pending.

Zhao is currently released on a $175 million bond, largely secured by assets outside the U.S. government’s jurisdiction. The bond conditions allow Zhao to travel within the U.S. and for his family to visit him, which Judge Jones described as reasonable restrictions.

This development follows the settlement in November between Binance, Zhao, and U.S. regulators, involving a $4.3 billion payment. The settlement acknowledged Binance’s operation of an unlicensed money-transmitting business and violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, leading to Zhao’s resignation as Binance’s CEO.

Francis Caldonia

Francis Caldonia is an accomplished article writer deeply passionate about the Crypto and Web3 realms. With a knack for demystifying intricate topics, Francis has earned recognition as a trusted voice in the realm of decentralized technologies and digital assets.

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