Changpeng Zhao faces up to ten years in prison after pleading guilty to money laundering
Changpeng Zhao, the former CEO and of founder of Binance, has been ordered to stay in the US at least temporarily, a federal judge ruled on Monday.
Zhao pleaded guilty last week to criminal charges tied to the cryptocurrency exchange and was released on a $175 million bond. Under the terms of the bail, he was free to return to the United Arab Emirates, where he resides with his family. The UAE does not have a formal extradition treaty with the US.
The day after Zhao was released, however, prosecutors requested that he be barred from leaving the US before his sentencing, which is scheduled for February 23.
According to Monday’s ruling, Zhao must remain in the US while the court considers the prosecutors’ motion that would require him to remain in the country until sentencing.
Zhao’s lawyers have argued that the defendant “voluntarily flew” to the US for his guilty plea and therefore should be allowed to travel.
Last week, Zhao pleaded guilty to violating anti-money laundering requirements and resigned as CEO of Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange, as part of a $4.3 billion settlement with the Department of Justice.
The DOJ said that Zhao faces anywhere from a few months to ten years in prison, but he can appeal a sentence longer than 18 months.
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