- Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao pleaded guilty last week to violating the Bank Secrecy Act and agreed to pay a $50 million fine.
- In a related case, the Department of Justice settled with crypto exchange Binance for $4.3 billion over alleged money laundering, fraud and sanctions violations.
- A judge ruled that Zhao must remain in the U.S. until his February sentencing, rather than return to the UAE, due to prosecutors’ concerns that he presents a flight risk.
Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao will have to stay in the U.S. ahead of his sentencing in February, at least until a further review is conducted. This comes after prosecutors warned that Zhao presented a flight risk, citing his wealth and noting that the UAE has no extradition treaty with the U.S.
Zhao’s Guilty Plea
Last week, Zhao pleaded guilty in a Seattle court to violating and causing a financial institution to violate the Bank Secrecy Act. He also agreed to pay a $50 million fine.
The DOJ’s Settlement with Binance
In a connected case, the U.S. Department of Justice settled with the world’s largest crypto exchange Binance, which probed into alleged money laundering, fraud and sanctions violations. The crypto exchange will pay a $4.3 billion fine, marking one of the largest corporate settlements in U.S. history.
Judge Richard Jones of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle ordered that a condition that would have allowed Zhao to return to his home in the United Arab Emirates before his sentencing be stayed until such time as this Court resolves the Government’s motion for review, according to a court filing on Monday.
The judge’s ruling means Zhao will have to remain in the U.S. until at least his sentencing hearing in February, as prosecutors conduct a further review given their concerns about him presenting a flight risk. This follows Zhao’s guilty plea last week related to Bank Secrecy Act violations.