CZ Ex-Binance CEO Asks Judge If He Can Leave The USA Before Trail

🔍 Background Changpeng Zhao, the former CEO of Binance, has made a request through his legal team to a U.S. judge. They are asking for permission for Zhao to return to the United Arab Emirates before his sentencing for violating anti-money laundering laws.

⚖️ Legal Proceedings Zhao, who holds citizenship in both the UAE and Canada, resigned from his position at Binance. This followed his guilty plea for failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program at the cryptocurrency exchange. U.S. authorities have accused Binance of not reporting over 100,000 suspicious transactions, some linked to groups like Hamas, al Qaeda, and ISIS.

💰 Financial Penalties As part of a plea deal, Binance is set to pay over $4.3 billion. Zhao himself has agreed to a personal penalty of $150 million. He potentially faces up to 18 months in prison.

🛫 Bail Conditions and Travel After posting a $175 million bail bond, a U.S. Magistrate Judge initially permitted Zhao to return to the UAE before his sentencing scheduled for February 23. However, the U.S. Justice Department is contesting this decision due to concerns about securing Zhao's return for sentencing, given the lack of an extradition treaty with the UAE and Zhao's considerable wealth.

🗣️ Defense Argument Zhao's legal team argues that he is not a flight risk, citing his substantial bail agreement and his voluntary return to the U.S. to face charges. They assert that allowing him to return to the UAE will enable him to prepare his family for his potential sentencing.

⚠️ Government's Stance The Justice Department, while acknowledging the "exceptional" nature of allowing Zhao to remain free before sentencing, emphasizes the rarity of such a decision for a wealthy individual facing prison time and residing in a non-extradition country. They argue that detention is the norm in similar circumstances.

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