US government prosecutors are trying to block former Binance boss Changpeng “CZ” Zhao from leaving the country, expressing concern that he is a potential flight risk.
In a filing filed Nov. 22 in federal court in Seattle, U.S. prosecutors sought to review and overturn a judge’s ruling that would allow Zhao to return to his home in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in exchange for $175 million bail, provided he returns. in the United States two weeks before his sentencing in February 2024.
In a proposed order, U.S. prosecutors wrote that Zhao “presents an unacceptable risk of flight and failure to appear if he is permitted to leave the United States pending sentencing.”
In a covering letter, prosecutors said that if Zhao decided not to return to the United States, the government “would not be able to secure his return.”
In its argument, the government pointed to Zhao’s ties and privileged status in the UAE, as well as the country’s lack of an extradition treaty with the United States, as reasons to prevent him from leaving the country. .
“He has three young children and a partner in the United Arab Emirates; Once in the UAE and facing the prospect of returning to the United States to face up to 18 months in prison, he could choose to simply stay in the UAE with his family.
Prosecutors said Zhao could live off his wealth in the UAE indefinitely because the vast majority of it is held overseas, outside U.S. jurisdiction.
The government also argued that Zhao’s bail was insufficient, as the majority of the $175 million used to secure his release was beyond the reach of the United States.
Zhao recently confessed to failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program at Binance and part of his plea deal resulted in him resigning as CEO of the exchange and paying a $50 fine. millions of dollars.
Related: Binance DOJ settlement offers glimmer of hope for crypto industry
Industry experts and observers have argued that the agreement reached between Binance and the Department of Justice is a positive outcome for the crypto industry, further legitimizing it in the United States.
Additionally, crypto markets have already rebounded from bad news surrounding one of the industry’s most enigmatic and influential players.
The total market capitalization has already returned to pre-Binance levels, reaching $1.48 trillion during the Asian trading session on Thursday morning.
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