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Judge Suspends Decision Allowing Changpeng Zhao to Leave the US Ahead of Sentencing



A United States district judge issued an order temporarily preventing former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao from returning to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) before his sentencing in February 2024.

Zhao previously pleaded guilty to charges relating to anti-money laundering violations.

  • Judge Richard Jones of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle, in a ruling on Nov. 27, said that Zhao will have to remain in the United States until the court “resolves the government’s motion for review.”
  • Federal prosecutors earlier stated that Zhao, popularly known as CZ, posed a flight risk, arguing that he has “significant assets and strong ties to the UAE,” which enabled him to evade United States law if he chooses not to return for his sentencing.
  • The attorneys further noted the absence of an extradition treaty between the U.S. and the UAE, which, according to them, could be problematic for the US government if Zhao decides not to appear for sentencing scheduled for Feb. 23, 2024.
  • Instead, the prosecutors asked that CZ remain in the US without being jailed. Meanwhile, the recent ruling overturned a previous decision by a magistrate court judge allowing the former Binance chief to return to the UAE pending his sentencing as part of his bond terms.
  • In a settlement deal with the US Department of Justice, Zhao agreed to step down from his position and pay a personal fine of $50 million, while Binance will pay a $4.3 billion fine.
  • The former executive also pleaded guilty to violating the Bank Secrecy Act, making the guilty plea in person at a U.S. District Court. CZ was subsequently released on a $175 million personal recognizance bond.



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