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According to a Reuters report, former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, commonly known as CZ, must remain in the United States for the time being, as stated by a federal judge on Monday.
This decision comes after Zhao, the founder of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, pleaded guilty to violating US anti-money laundering laws.
Binance Ex-CEO Denied UAE Return Amid Money Laundering Charges
The judge ruled that Zhao must stay in the US until the Seattle court determines whether he should remain in the country through his sentencing hearing in February or be allowed to return to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he holds citizenship.
Last week, Zhao resigned as CEO of Binance after admitting to willfully causing the exchange to fail in maintaining an effective anti-money laundering program. As part of the bail agreement, Zhao agreed to a $175 million bond.
US District Judge Richard Jones in Seattle stated that he would review the decision regarding Zhao’s stay in the United States after the US government appealed a prior ruling, which allowed Zhao to return to the UAE before his sentencing hearing scheduled for February 23.
In addition to Zhao’s guilty plea, Binance, the cryptocurrency exchange he founded, agreed to pay over $4.3 billion in fines and pleaded guilty to breaking US anti-money laundering and sanctions laws.
CZ’s Conviction Looms
According to federal guidelines, Zhao could face a maximum prison sentence of 18 months. Changpeng Zhao has also agreed not to appeal any sentence up to that length. The Justice Department spokesperson told Reuters that prosecutors will determine the jail time they will seek closer to Zhao’s sentencing.
Per the report, one of the key concerns in this case is the potential difficulty in securing Zhao’s return to the United States, as there is no extradition treaty between the US and the UAE.
However, as reported by Bitcoinist, Zhao’s lawyers argued against the notion that he is a flight risk, citing the substantial bail package he paid and his voluntary appearance in the US to take responsibility for his actions.
The outcome of CZ’s trial and conviction is yet to be determined, leaving open the possibility of additional restrictions or penalties. These judicial proceedings will determine whether the former CEO will be subject to imprisonment and the subsequent implications and sanctions imposed by US regulators on Binance.
The trading price of Binance Coin (BNB) currently stands at $224. Over the past 24 hours, it has witnessed a 3% decrease while experiencing a more significant correction of 12% over the past 7 days.
Featured image from Entrepreneur, chart from TradingView.com
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