Ex-Binance CEO CZ Mandated To Remain In U.S. Until Trial

US Judge Richard Jones is not convinced that CZ won’t flee, orders his remand him in the United States.

Changpeng Zhao of Binance sitting on a runway watching an aeroplane taking off.
Created by Gabor Kovacs from DailyCoin
  • The Department of Justice (DOJ) motioned to detain Changpeng “CZ” Zhao in the United States.
  • A judge has ruled in favor of the prosecutor, granting the motion.
  • Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao is set to face trial in the upcoming year.

The DOJ’s indictment of cryptocurrency exchange Binance and its founder, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, on multiple criminal charges has shifted focus to the former CEO’s freedom of movement. 

Following CZ’s guilty plea and $175 million bail as part of the Binance settlement agreement, which initially granted him the freedom to travel to the UAE and return to the U.S. two weeks before trial, the DOJ raised concerns that Zhao poses a flight risk. The prosecutors pointed to his advantageous position in his home base, emphasizing that his strong ties could facilitate a potential abscondment and challenging extradition.

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Now, all hopes of the former CEO’s return home have dimmed, with a judge ruling in favor of the prosecution and imposing restrictions on CZ’s movements.

CZ Restricted from Leaving the United States 

On Thursday, December 7, US Seattle District Court Judge Richard Jones rejected CZ’s request to return to the UAE, ruling to ground him in the United States while he awaits sentencing. 

Judge Jones expressed that he was not convinced the ex-Binance CEO would not flee, despite arguments from Zhao’s legal team that he had paid a “substantial” bail package and voluntarily came to the United States to take responsibility for his actions despite not being court-mandated. 

“The government argues that because the defendant is a multi-billionaire whose liberty is at stake and whose assets are primarily overseas, his bail package is inadequate to ensure his return."

Zhao can move freely within the continental United States but is restricted from outside the region while awaiting his sentencing. 

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The imposed constraints on the Binance chief’s mobility add to his mounting legal troubles, potentially rendering him powerless and isolated from ties that could support his already delicate situation. 

Additionally, the lack of an extradition treaty between the United States and UAE can influence CZ’s defense strategy for the charges leveled against him, requiring further adjustments to accommodate the new provisions. 

CZ’s Criminal Charges

Binance and its CEO CZ have been under an intense year-long regulatory heat, grappling with criminal charges and lawsuits from numerous financial regulators.

The plot thickened on November 21, when the US Justice Department secured felony criminal pleas from Binance, Binance U.S, and its former CEO Changpeng “CZ ” Zhao.

The prosecutors alleged that Binance, under the direction of CZ, breached U.S anti-money laundering regulations and operated an unregistered money transmitter business. The group was also accused of facilitating transactions for individuals under U.S. sanctions, including terrorist organizations.

CZ faces a potential 10-year prison sentence and is scheduled to appear in the U.S. Seattle Court on February 23, 2024, where the U.S. government will decide his fate.

On the Flipside

  • While the judge’s ruling contradicts the initial conditions of CZ’s plea deal, other stipulations remain valid, including the right to appeal any sentence that exceeds 18 months.
  • Binance is withdrawing from key markets as the exchange halts its pursuit of an operational license in the UAE.
  • On November 21, Richard Teng stepped in as CZ’s successor following his mandated exit from Binance.

Why This Matters

The court’s decision to restrict Changpeng “CZ” Zhao’s movements underscores the gravity of the DOJ’s case, potentially hinting at a severity beyond what has been disclosed.

Read more on CZ’s exit from Binance:
“Binance Will Be Fine,” CZ Pens Final Note to Staff as CEO 

Binance is expanding its product offerings amid the ongoing legal strom. Read more: 
Binance Debuts User-Friendly Wallet for Web3 Adoption

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Author
Grace Abidemi

Grace Abidemi, a cryptocurrency reporter at DailyCoin, covers industry developments and trends. She previously worked as a freelance writer. With a Bachelor's degree in German Language and certifications in marketing and storytelling, Grace creates engaging content. When not working, she's in Nigeria, mastering cooking and canvas painting, and enjoys learning about different cultures and languages.