Binance CEO Freedom Curtailed: Guilty Plea Lands Him in US for Months

Binance CEO Freedom Curtailed: Guilty Plea Lands Him in US for Months

The former head of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, is required to stay within the continental United States leading up to his sentencing for violating U.S. anti-money laundering laws, as determined by U.S. District Judge Richard Jones on Thursday.

In the previous month, Binance Holdings agreed to a payment exceeding $4.3 billion and pleaded guilty to violating U.S. anti-money laundering and sanctions laws. Zhao, too, entered a guilty plea and could face a maximum prison sentence of 18 months under federal guidelines. He has committed not to appeal any sentence up to that duration.

Initially, a magistrate judge suggested that Zhao could return to the United Arab Emirates, where he has been residing, before his February sentencing hearing. However, the district judge decided to review the matter. The Justice Department expressed concerns about Zhao being a flight risk and urged the judge to require him to stay in the country. Zhao’s legal team contested this, emphasizing his significant bail contribution and his voluntary presence in the United States to take responsibility for his actions.

In a court document filed on Thursday, the District Court judge in Seattle sided with the Justice Department, stating that Zhao had not sufficiently convinced the court that he is unlikely to flee if allowed to return to the UAE. Judge Jones noted that while the bail package is substantial, it appears to consist mainly of assets beyond the government’s reach.

As per the conditions of his bail, Zhao can stay free and travel within the United States. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 23, 2024.

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John Smith

John Smith is a distinguished journalist, holding a Master's in Journalism from the renowned Columbia University. With a knack for uncovering the most captivating stories, John is the go-to expert for all things related to politics and current affairs. His insightful analysis and commitment to unbiased reporting set him apart in the world of journalism. John's writing ensures you're always in the know about the latest happenings in the USA.

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