Judge denies Binance ex-chief’s second bid to leave US

abdelaziz Fathi

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, the former CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Binance, has been denied permission to leave the United States by a federal judge, ahead of his sentencing hearing.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao

The ruling, made on December 29 by Judge Richard Jones of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle, comes after a second motion by CZ requesting to travel abroad.

The details of CZ’s second motion were sealed by the court and are not publicly available. However, his legal team indicated that the request involved “medical information regarding Mr. Zhao’s child.”

Previously, on December 7, Judge Jones had ordered Zhao to remain in the U.S., following a motion where CZ sought permission to travel. The judge raised concerns that CZ could be a flight risk, especially if allowed to travel to Dubai, where his family resides.

CZ has pleaded guilty to one felony count in a $4.3 billion agreement with U.S. authorities, involving both himself and Binance. He is scheduled for sentencing in February and could face up to 18 months in prison.

In his deliberation, Judge Jones acknowledged the rarity of overruling a magistrate judge’s pre-sentencing decision. However, he was swayed by the Justice Department’s argument that Zhao’s massive wealth and the lack of an extradition treaty between the UAE and the U.S. posed flight risks.

Despite Zhao posting a $175 million bond, the judge was concerned that Zhao’s considerable wealth might lead him to forfeit the bond in exchange for his freedom. Binance founder’s fortune has soared by almost $25 billion this year, even as his holdings in Bitcoin and Binance’s own coin, BNB, are not included in this valuation.

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.

  • Read this next

    Digital Assets

    Pyth Network Rolls Out Bitcoin ETF Price Feeds

    The Pyth Network, a leading provider of real-time market data for crypto, equities, FX, and commodities to the DeFi market, has rolled out its latest feature: Bitcoin ETF Price Feeds. These feeds provide real-time, reliable price data for 13 Bitcoin exchange-traded funds, making them accessible to DeFi developers and users. 

    Digital Assets

    Circle to end USDC support on Justin Sun’s Tron Network

    Circle, the company behind the widely-used USD Coin (USDC), announced it will stop supporting its stablecoin on the Tron blockchain. The issuer said the move is part of Circle’s ongoing efforts to ensure USDC maintains its reputation as a trusted, transparent, and safe digital currency.


    JonesTrading deploys FlexOMS for equities, eTrading, outsourced trading

    “Firstly, our aggressive timelines meant that we needed to work with a partner who understood our business and offered flexible yet powerful technology solutions to meet our requirements. That was essentially the baseline.”

    Digital Assets

    First-Ever ICO on Bitcoin Blockchain: $3.1M Raised in Under 6 Days

    Bitcoin Dogs has now raised a total of $3.1M in the first 6 days of its historic presale. The project’s BRC-20 token, 0DOG, is the first-ever ICO on the Bitcoin blockchain.

    Executive Moves

    iSAM Securities hires Aaron Brown for MENa expansion

    “Aaron’s wealth of experience in institutional sales, strong network and in-depth understanding of client requirements in the Middle East will help us to capitalize on recent client demand in the region, whilst delivering the same innovative, high-quality products and services we offer to all our clients globally.”

    Fundamental Analysis

    Global FX Market Summary: EUR, Fed Minutes February 21, 2024

    Hawkish Fed minutes could strengthen USD, dovish BoE hints could boost euro, mixed economic data leaves impact unclear, FOMC minutes release today holds the most weight.

    Digital Assets

    360T launches Crypto NDF offering

    “By launching our crypto offering with non-deliverable derivatives products, we are allowing our diverse, global client base to engage with the crypto market without the need to build or invest in Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) infrastructure. Looking ahead, we will continue to work with our industry partners to expand 360T’s crypto.”

    Technical Analysis

    FTSE 100 index Technical Analysis Report 20 February, 2024

    The FTSE 100 index is likely to fall to support level 7600.00 after reversing from resistance level 7750.00.

    Retail FX

    Afterprime enhances trade reporting with PrimeXM and TRAction

    “This collaboration has made setting up EMIR and MIFIR reporting for our CySEC entity a breeze, allowing us to maintain our focus on providing best-in-class pricing and top-notch customer service.”