CZ challenges prosecution’s motion to stay in U.S.
The legal defense of Changpeng Zhao, former CEO of Binance, has requested the court to dismiss the prosecutors’ motion to retain him in the U.S. until his February sentencing.
Zhao has already entered a guilty plea for Bank Secrecy Act violations and agreed to a $50 million fine, with Binance agreeing to a historic $4.3 billion settlement over allegations of money laundering and other financial crimes.
Zhao’s defense argues that he does not pose a flight risk, as previously determined by Judge Brian Tsuchida, and that the government has not provided adequate grounds for an appeal to overturn this finding. They elaborated on CZ’s visibility as a global public figure and his track record, including a lack of criminal history and the non-violent nature of his offenses, to argue against the necessity of him staying in the U.S. before sentencing.
The defense also suggests that since Binance founder could serve a portion of his sentence in a non-jail setting, there is little motivation for him to flee and face additional charges. They point out that his family ties and residence in the UAE should not inherently mark him as a flight risk, especially given his willingness to face the legal consequences and return to his family post-sentencing.
Refuting the prosecutors’ concern over Zhao’s wealth and the absence of a U.S.-UAE extradition treaty, the defense notes his voluntary return to the U.S. to face charges. They mentioned his bail conditions, including a $175 million personal bond backed by guarantor pledges, as evidence of his commitment to comply with U.S. judicial proceedings.
In contrast, the prosecution cited Zhao’s considerable assets and connections to the UAE as factors that heighten the risk of flight. They argue that these factors, combined with the practical challenges of extradition, warrant keeping Binance’s ex-CEO in the United States until his sentencing.
The court previously ruled in Zhao’s favor, allowing him to return to the UAE under certain conditions, but this is subject to review. He is expected to return to the U.S. by February 9, 2024, for his sentencing.