Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, the former CEO of Binance, contests the US government’s move to prevent his return to the UAE while awaiting sentencing after his guilty plea.
His legal team, in a court filing on 23 November, opposes the proposed alteration of his bail conditions by the US Department of Justice (DOJ).
Zhao’s lawyers advocate for his right to leave the US and be with his family in the UAE until his sentencing in February 2024.
They assert that Zhao has no plans to evade his sentencing, despite facing a potential 18-month prison term.
They emphasise Judge Tsuchida’s assessment that Zhao poses no flight risk:
“As Judge Tsuchida found, all the facts and circumstances amply demonstrate that Mr. Zhao poses no risk of flight and should be permitted to reside at home with his family in the UAE pending sentencing. The government’s motion should be denied.”
The legal team asserts that Zhao’s actions, including flying from the UAE to the US, demonstrate his commitment to resolving the case and appearing for sentencing.
On 22 November, US prosecutors argued that Zhao should be barred from leaving the US, citing flight risk concerns.
The DOJ expressed apprehensions about ensuring his return from the UAE if he chooses not to appear for sentencing.
However, a bond document filed on November 21 reveals that Zhao posted a $175 million release bond and agreed to return to the US 14 days before his sentencing date in 2024.
CZ Step Down as Binance CEO
Zhao’s decision to step down as Binance CEO aligns with his guilty plea.
While he maintains his majority stake in Binance, he forfeits executive roles within the crypto exchange.
Notably, this arrangement does not impact Binance’s ongoing legal disputes with the US Securities and Exchange Commission but resolves issues with the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.