Binance founder CZ must stay in US until sentencing, judge orders

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Binance founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao has been ordered to stay in the United States until his sentencing in February, with a federal judge figuring out there’s an excessive amount of of a flight danger if the previous trade CEO is allowed to return to the United Arab Emirates.

On Dec. 7, Seattle district courtroom Judge Richard Jones ordered Zhao to stay in the U.S. until his Feb. 23, 2024 sentencing date. He faces up to 18 months in prison after pleading responsible to cash laundering on Nov. 21 and has agreed to not attraction any potential sentence as much as that size.

“The defendant has enormous wealth and property abroad, and no ties to the United States,” Jones wrote, agreeing with earlier arguments from federal prosecutors who mentioned they “would not be able to secure his return” if Zhao determined to not return to the United States.

“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,” Jones added.

“Based on the foregoing reason, the Court GRANTS the government’s motion, and the defendant shall remain in the continental United States during the period between his plea and sentencing.”

On Dec. 6, Jones accepted Zhao’s guilty plea submitted nearly two weeks earlier however didn’t determine on a federal prosecutor’s movement to dam him from returning to Dubai, the place he resides.

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Zhao is currently on a $175 million bond, which Jones said “appears to be largely comprised of assets beyond the government’s reach.”

He added the bond conditions allow Zhao to freely travel in the U.S. and allow his family to visit him, which he called “hardly burdensome impositions on the defendant’s freedom.”

In November, Binance and Zhao settled with U.S. regulators for $4.3 billion and admitted to operating an unlicensed money-transmitting enterprise and violating the Bank Secrecy Act. The settlement additionally noticed Zhao step down as CEO.

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