Judge Orders CZ to Remain in the US Until Sentencing

A US judge has ordered former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao to remain in the United States until his sentencing in February 2024. CZ is set to be sentenced on charges related to anti-money laundering violations.

In his ruling, Seattle district court Judge Richard Jones claimed CZ posed a serious flight risk if allowed to return to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he resides with his family.

CZ Will Have to Await Sentencing in THE US

Judge Jone’s ruling on Thursday reverses a previous ruling that allowed CZ to return to the UAE until his sentencing. Jones claimed that CZ constituted too much of a flight risk due to his “enormous wealth” abroad and the absence of an extradition treaty between the United States and the UAE.

Jone wrote in his ruling: “His family resides in the UAE, and it appears that he has favored status in the UAE. Under these circumstances, the Court finds that the defendant has not established by clear and convincing evidence that he is not likely to flee if he returns to the UAE.”

He added that “the Court agrees with the government that this is an unusual case. The defendant has enormous wealth and property abroad and no ties to the United States.”

Zhao’s lawyers shrugged off these concerns, emphasizing that Zhao’s readiness to travel to the US and plead guilty showcased his cooperation. However. US prosecutors have maintained that the former Binance CEO would be okay.

The Terms of Zhao’s Bond Allow Him to Travel Around the US

Zhao entered a guilty plea to money laundering on November 21st and also agreed not to fight any potential sentencing of up to 18 months. CZ is currently on a $175 million bond, which Jones claimed “appears to be largely comprised of assets beyond the government’s reach.”

The terms of Zhao’s bond allegedly allow him to travel throughout the US and also allow his family to visit him. Jones noted that these conditions were “hardly burdensome impositions on the defendant’s freedom.” Furthermore, Jones clarified that his ruling was not based on “the defendant’s alienage or citizenship.”

Thursday’s ruling stems from recent investigations into Binance, showing that the crypto exchange failed to establish appropriate anti-money laundering checks and helped facilitate illegal transactions.

Binance struck a $4.3 billion settlement with US prosecutors last month. In addition, CZ resigned from his role at the exchange and will not take up any position at the company for the next three years.

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