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Judge Jones determined that Zhao possessed substantial financial wealth to evade justice if he returned to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The judge further highlighted Zhao’s “favored status” in the UAE and his family presence in the country as other reasons why he should not be allowed to leave the U.S.
The absence of an extradition treaty between the UAE and the U.S. also weighed heavily in the judge’s decision.
The filing reads:
“The Court agrees with the government that this is an unusual case. The defendant has enormous wealth and property abroad, and no ties to the United States. His family resides in the UAE and it appears that he has favored status in the UAE. Under these circumstances the Court finds that the defendant has not established by clear and convincing evidence that he is not likely to flee if he returns to the UAE.”
Zhao, the founder of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, pleaded guilty to anti-money laundering charges as part of an extensive deal with the U.S. government, including his platform, Binance. He had consented to a $175 million bond, secured by an additional $15 million held in trust, to assure his presence during sentencing.
His legal team had contended that he posed no flight risk, highlighting his voluntary presence in the U.S. and willingness to take responsibility for his past actions.
However, U.S. prosecutors argued that Zhao posed a flight risk due to his significant assets, ties to the UAE, and potential extradition difficulties from the Middle East.
Zhao potentially faces a maximum of 10 years in prison but is anticipated to receive a sentence of no more than 18 months.
The post Binance’s Changpeng Zhao confined in U.S. as judge officially declares him a flight risk appeared first on CryptoSlate.
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