- Binance Ex-CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao remains grounded in the U.S.
- A provision in the former Binance chief’s bail bond has been suspended.
- The decision comes as the prosecution and defense debate over Zhao’s flight risk status.
Having pleaded guilty to violating the Bank Secrecy Act, Binance founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao faces multiple legal hurdles in the U.S. Despite being granted bail on a $175 million bond, the former Binance chief is yet to secure his return home to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) amid resistance from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
Binance Ex-CEO CZ Remains Grounded in the U.S.
Zhao’s $175 million bond, filed on November 21 and approved by Magistrate Judge Brian A. Tsuchida, permitted him to leave for the UAE and return to the U.S. two weeks before his sentencing trial in February 2024. However, this permission has now been suspended pending a review requested by the DOJ on November 22.
U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Washington Seattle Richard A. Jones decided to stay the permission in a court order on Monday, November 27. As such, the Binance chief is restricted from leaving the U.S. until the court completes the DOJ-requested review.
The debacle’s center is whether the past Binance chief presents a flight risk.
Is CZ a Flight Risk?
In the motion for review, the DOJ argues that Zhao presents a flight risk, citing the former Binance chief’s favorable position in the UAE, strong family ties, and significant wealth that could allow him to sacrifice the $20 million collateral to secure the bail bond.
“Once in the UAE and faced with the prospect of traveling back to the United States to face up to 18 months in prison, he may elect to instead simply stay in the UAE with his family,” prosecutors argued at the time.
However, the magistrate judge who approved the $175 million bond and several members of the crypto community have disagreed with the DOJ’s view as the Binance chief was never obligated to fly to the U.S. to enter his guilty plea in the first place due to the lack of an extradition treaty between the U.S. and the UAE.
“So, the most recognisable man in crypto would voluntarily fly to the US to enter a favourable deal only to become a flight risk after?” Coin Bureau's Guy Turner sarcastically asked in a post on X.
Judge Jones must consider these diverse views as he prepares his final decision.
Former SEC enforcement chief John Reed Stark highlighted that the judge may offer a ruling based on the motions, seek more information, or set a date for oral arguments.
On the Flipside
- Judge Jones gave no timeline on when the court would arrive at a decision.
- Zhao faces a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
Why This Matters
The debate over whether the former Binance chief should be allowed to return to the UAE highlights the severity of the case against him.
Read this to learn more about CZ’s bail bond:
Binance Ex-CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao Released on a $175M Bond
Learn more about the recent capital flows to crypto funds:
Crypto Inflows Smash 2-Year Milestone in ETF-Inspired Run