Former Binance CEO CZ ‘poses a serious flight risk,’ and should stay in US, prosecutors say

Binance’s former CEO, Changpeng Zhao (CZ), will not be allowed to leave the United States ahead of his February sentencing on a charge of violating the Bank Secrecy Act, federal prosecutors filed in court on Wednesday.

Zhao pleaded guilty and resigned from the crypto exchange he founded on Tuesday to multiple criminal and civil charges tied to Binance for allowing US users and users to use the platform without sufficient knowledge. Laundry programs. Finance agreed to pay a $4.3 billion fine, one of the largest corporate fines in the history of the US Department of Justice.

In Filed on Wednesday, Zhao had “minimal ties to the United States” as a citizen of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and would not return if allowed to leave, prosecutors said. They noted that they’re not asking for him to be jailed ahead of sentencing — just that he remain in the U.S. His sentencing is currently set for Feb. 23, 2024, and he could spend more than a year in prison.

Under the terms of his current bond agreement, Zhao can leave the United States, put $15 million into a trust account, sign a $175 million personal recognizance bond and find guarantors to deposit the additional funds.

This is not enough, the lawyers said in a petition filed on Wednesday. If Zhao doesn’t return to the US, they won’t be able to get the $175 million bond because most of his assets are outside the country, and since Zhao is wealthy, he can pay the rest of the funds without any problem. They said. There is no extradition treaty between the United Arab Emirates and the United States

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During Tuesday’s hearing, Zhao’s lawyers argued that forcing him to stay in the United States ahead of sentencing would be difficult for him and his family. His wife and children will not be able to immigrate to the United States during the months between Tuesday’s hearing and the February sentencing.

Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida asked prosecutors on Tuesday whether Zhao had come to the United States voluntarily to surrender and plead guilty, meaning there was no serious flight risk.

A lawyer responded that there is a difference between voluntarily coming to the United States to plead guilty and facing prison time.

Zhao is currently in the US until at least November 27. If District Judge Richard Jones chooses not to reconsider the DOJ filing by 5:00 pm Pacific time that day, Zhao can return to the United Arab Emirates, but must return to the United States by February 10.

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