Changpeng CZ Zhao, the former CEO of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance, has recently been hindered by travel restrictions in the United States in advance of his sentencing expected to take place early next year.
Binance Ex-CEO To Remain In The United States
On Tuesday, Zhao entered a guilty plea and exited the cryptocurrency exchange he established in 2017. In addition, Binance also pleaded guilty to several criminal and civil charges due to inefficient anti-money laundering and customer recognition procedures.
According to a Bond filing, Zhao has signed a $175 million personal recognizance bond and a separate $15 million cash held in Davis Wright Tremaine (DWT) trust account for his release. Additionally, the bond release will allow him to leave the US back to his home in the UAE before returning for his sentencing.
However, after thorough consideration by the US persecutors, the Binance ex-CEO has been ordered to remain in the US prior to his sentencing which will take place next year. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 23, 2024, at approximately 9 a.m. Pacific Time.
The persecutors highlighted a potential flight risk posed by Zhao if he was allowed to return to his home in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They also pointed out the Binance ex-CEO’s strong ties with the country and the difficulty of extraditing him to the US.
The persecutor’s statement in a Wednesday ruling read:
There is no combination of conditions sufficient to protect against the risk of flight and ensure Zhao’s return from the UAE for sentencing, and he cannot establish by clear and convincing evidence that he is not likely to flee if he is allowed to return to the UAE given his significant assets, his strong ties to the UAE, and the government’s inability to extradite him from the UAE. Thus, Zhao should be required to remain in the United States between his plea and sentencing.
The persecutors also highlighted the Binance Ex CEO’s UAE citizenship as a potential reason not to return to the US. This is because the UAE government will not easily accept a return request from the US government if Zhao chooses not to return.
Inability To Secure Bond Release Funds
The persecutors further asserted that if Zhao was allowed to leave the US and failed to return, they would not be able to secure the $175 million bond. This is because most of his assets are not in the US, and he could offset the rest of the money without a sweat since he is wealthy.
The persecutors stated:
The government did not seek Zhao’s detention but argued that—as a non-U.S. but UAE citizen with substantial wealth outside the United States, minimal ties to the United States, and a residence in a country without an extradition treaty with the United States—Zhao poses a serious risk of flight and requested that he be required to remain in the continental United States pending sentencing
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