Changpeng Zhao Required to Stay in U.S. for Sentencing
Changpeng Zhao, former CEO of Binance, has been mandated by a U.S. federal judge to remain within the country, marking a significant development after his admission of guilt concerning breaches of U.S. anti-money laundering regulations.
This directive requires his presence until the upcoming sentencing hearing scheduled for February, during which the court will deliberate on whether he can return to his home country, the United Arab Emirates, where he holds citizenship alongside Canada.
Zhao’s resignation as Binance’s CEO last week followed his acknowledgment of orchestrating the exchange’s failure in establishing an effective anti-money laundering program.
The judge presiding over the case, Richard Jones in Seattle, has indicated a review of Zhao’s situation, triggered by the U.S. government’s challenge to a prior decision allowing Zhao’s return to the UAE before the sentencing. Zhao’s compliance with a $175 million bond as part of the bail arrangement has been noted.
In addition, Binance Holdings, under Zhao’s leadership, admitted guilt and agreed to a settlement exceeding $4.3 billion, attributing to violations of U.S. anti-money laundering and sanctions laws.
Zhao potentially faces an 18-month prison sentence under federal guidelines, having agreed not to contest any sentence within that range. The Justice Department is expected to provide their stance on the duration of imprisonment closer to Zhao’s sentencing, as stated by a department spokesperson last week.
Previous uncertainty was expressed by the government regarding Zhao’s return to the U.S. due to the absence of an extradition treaty with the UAE. However, Zhao’s legal representatives have countered this, emphasizing his lack of flight risk, supported by substantial bail payments and his voluntary appearance in the U.S. to assume responsibility for his actions.