US Government Seeks to Keep Former Binance CEO on American Soil During Sentencing Wait

Prosecutors keep CZ in US

According to a filing with the federal court in Seattle on November 22, US prosecutors are requesting a review and reversal of the decision that allowed Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) to leave the country ahead of his sentencing hearing scheduled for February 2024. Previously, a judge had permitted Zhao to return home to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with a $175 million bail, on the condition that he return to the US two weeks before his scheduled trial.

In their proposal, US prosecutors explicitly state that CZ “poses a risk of flight and not appearing in court if allowed to leave the United States pending trial.” In the accompanying letter, they warn that if CZ decides not to return to the US, the government “will not be able to ensure his return.”

The government points out CZ’s connections and priority status in the UAE, coupled with the fact that the UAE does not have an extradition treaty with the US, as reasons to prevent him from leaving the country.

Prosecutors also argue that CZ could live off his assets in the UAE indefinitely, as most of that money is held abroad, beyond the reach of the US. The government also suggests that CZ’s bail amount is still insufficient, as a significant portion of the $175 million is used to secure his freedom beyond the reach of the US.

Recently, CZ stepped down from his role as CEO of the Binance exchange, acknowledging violations of anti-money laundering requirements before the federal court in Seattle on November 22 (US time). This is part of a $4 billion settlement agreement recently put forth by the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

On the same day, CZ appeared in a Seattle court and pleaded guilty to “willful failure to comply with anti-money laundering regulations.” His lawyer stated that the Binance chief had flown to the US from the UAE to face trial, demonstrating his compliance and sincerity.

The court is expected to render a verdict on February 23, 2024. CZ could face a sentence of 18 months in prison. He emphasizes that US regulators will not accuse Binance of misappropriating user funds or engaging in market manipulation. However, he has been allowed to travel abroad with a $175 million bail and resides in the UAE while awaiting the Seattle court’s verdict on February 23, 2024.

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has also agreed to plead guilty and pay a total fine of $4.3 billion, including resolving civil allegations. This agreement will conclude the investigation into Binance.

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Chi Do
Chi Do
Chi Do is a content writer at CoinMinutes, responsible for creating most of the content on the website, including news related to Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Blockchain, Decentralized Finance (DeFi), and more. With a keen interest in cryptocurrencies since the 2020s, Chi has acquired extensive experience and knowledge in this field. Chi holds a Bachelor's degree in communication from Academy of Journalism and Communication in Vietnam.

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