Can Binance Ex-CEO Changpeng Zhao Return to UAE? Judge’s Verdict Awaited Post-Guilty Plea

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The post Can Binance Ex-CEO Changpeng Zhao Return to UAE? Judge’s Verdict Awaited Post-Guilty Plea appeared first on Coinpedia Fintech News

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, founder and former CEO of Binance, resigned from his position following his guilty plea to three felony counts in a Seattle Federal Court. He may be allowed to return to his family in Dubai, but there are conditions attached.

CZ pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Bank Secrecy Act. However, the federal judge has not yet decided whether Zhao can return to the United Arab Emirates before his sentencing in February. Following his admission of breaching money laundering laws, Zhao agreed to a $50 million penalty.

This settlement with the Justice Department aims to keep Binance operational. Zhao’s resignation was in line with the terms agreed upon with the Commodities Futures Trading Commission and the Treasury Department.

Judicial Proceedings and Decisions

Federal Judge Richard Jones of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington accepted the plea on Wednesday. This came less than two weeks after Zhao and Binance, the cryptocurrency exchange he founded, pleaded guilty to charges related to inadequate anti-money laundering procedures at the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.

“The Court, having considered the Report and Recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge…hereby accepts the guilty plea of the defendant…the defendant is adjudged guilty of such offense,” wrote the judge. “All parties shall appear before this Court for sentencing as directed.”

Is CZ Allowed to Go Back UAE? 

Regarding CZ’s return to his family in the UAE, he initially sought permission but was instructed to remain in the U.S. until his sentencing on February 23, 2024. U.S. authorities expressed concerns about his strong connections to the UAE and potential extradition challenges, given the lack of an extradition treaty between the two countries.

Zhao was released on bond but the prosecution requested that he stay in the U.S. until his sentencing. He is allowed to return under the current bail conditions but must do so two weeks before his sentencing. Judge Jones recently delayed Zhao’s release decision to allow him to stay in the country until a final determination is made.

As part of its plea agreement, Binance agreed to a substantial $4.3 billion fine and to allow monitors reporting to the Department of Justice and the Treasury Department. Binance pleaded guilty to three charges, including one related to sanctions. Richard Teng, former Binance director, has taken over as CEO.

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