Judge Orders CZ to Remain in the US
- The DOJ claims CZ is a flight risk due to his influential status in the UAE.
- The Binance founder entered a guilty plea with US authorities last week and stepped down from his role at the exchange.
A US judge ruled on Monday that former Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao must stay in the United States for the time being while the court reviews a motion from the Department of Justice (DOJ). US prosecutors last week claimed CZ posed a flight risk and should remain in the US until his sentencing next year.
As part of a deal with the DOJ, CZ resigned from Binance and will not hold any executive positions at the exchange for the next three years. The former Binance CEO also pleaded guilty to violating the Bank Secrecy Act last week.
Zhao was released on a $175 million personal recognizance bond after entering a guilty plea. CZ was originally free to go back to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he lives with his wife and kids, as per the conditions of the bail release. However, District Judge Richard Jones suspended this portion of the decision on Monday.
The DOJ’s lawyers had pushed to retain Zhao in the US, claiming that his considerable financial stability and the absence of an extradition treaty between the United States and the United Arab Emirates would make him a flight risk. However, the DOJ noted that it has no intention of putting Zhao behind bars before his sentencing on February 23, 2024. It is currently unclear if the judge will hold another hearing or reverse his Monday ruling.
Zhao’s lawyers had opposed the DOJ’s claims, arguing that CZ demonstrated his willingness to comply with US authorities by traveling to the US. They also noted that his family is unable to move for a few months just because of the sentencing.