Judge Bars Former Binance CEO From Leaving US as the Court Weighs Government’s Request

DOJ Announces $4.3 Billion Settlement With Binance; CZ to Step Down as Part of Plea Deal

A federal judge has barred former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) from leaving the U.S. until the court has made a decision on the U.S. government’s motion to prevent his return to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) before sentencing. The government filed the motion in response to a release order issued by a magistrate judge, granting the former Binance chief permission to go back to the UAE while awaiting sentencing.

CZ Cannot Leave the U.S. for Now

A federal judge has issued an order restricting former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) from leaving the U.S. until the court determines whether to approve the government’s motion to force the ex-Binance boss to stay in the U.S. until sentencing.

“This matter comes before the Court upon the United States’ motion for review of Magistrate Judge’s ruling on defendant [CZ]’s presentencing travel restrictions,” states the order signed by District Judge Richard A. Jones on Monday. “Having considered the briefing, and the files and pleadings herein, the Court determines it will review the decision of Magistrate Judge Brian A. Tsuchida permitting Defendant to return to the United Arab Emirates pending sentencing pursuant to the conditions of his appearance bond.” The order continues:

It is ordered that the condition permitting Defendant to return to the UAE pending sentencing is STAYED until such time as this Court resolves the government’s motion for review.

Last week, Zhao pleaded guilty to failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program and stepped down as the CEO of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. The government also filed a parallel information against Binance for failing to comply with provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act and U.S. sanctions law.

As part of the settlements with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Treasury Department, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Binance and Zhao will pay a historic sum of more than $4.3 billion.

Magistrate Judge Tsuchida issued a release order last week with bail conditions, allowing the former Binance chief to return to the UAE while awaiting sentencing. However, the U.S. government then filed a motion to prevent Zhao from returning home before sentencing. In response, CZ has asked the court to reject the government’s motion, contending that Judge Tsuchida determined he poses no flight risk, having voluntarily appeared before the court to take responsibility and plead guilty.

The U.S. government states in its motion that the former Binance chief executive may face up to 18 months in prison. Under Magistrate Judge Tsuchina’s order, the bail conditions require that CZ “post a $175 million personal recognizance bond, secured by two guarantors with cash pledges of $100,000 and $250,000, respectively, and a third guarantor with real property located in Los Angeles, California, valued at more than $5 million,” his legal team described.

Do you think CZ should be able to leave the U.S. and return home to the UAE while waiting for sentencing? Let us know in the comments section below.

Kevin Helms

Kevin Helms

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