Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has been banned from leaving the US again as he awaits sentencing for violating banking laws. US District Judge Richard A. Jones' decision comes three weeks after he overturned an earlier ruling in February that allowed Zhao to return to the UAE ahead of sentencing.
Zhao could flee outside the United States
Although Jao Setting bail at $175 million, Judge Jones worried that Zhao's considerable wealth – expected to grow to about $25 billion by 2023 – would prompt him to post bail and flee outside the United States. These concerns are based in part on the fact that Zhao has important connections in countries that do not have extradition treaties with the United States.
Zhao's wealth, mainly in cryptocurrency, rose with the market recovery after a long bear market caused by the collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried's FTX exchange in November 2022. As part of his plea deal, he resigned as chief financial officer. , Zhao voluntarily returned to the United States to face charges. The charges stemmed from the bank's alleged involvement in a global criminal enterprise.
Zhao pleaded guilty to failing to implement an adequate anti-money laundering program at Binance and agreed to pay a $50 million fine. The settlement ended years of regulatory investigations with Finance pleading guilty to anti-money laundering and sanctions violations that resulted in $4.3 billion in fines — one of the largest corporate settlements in U.S. history.
Changpeng Zhao was imprisoned
If convicted, Zhao could spend 12 to 18 months in a minimum-security prison, observers speculate. His legal team may argue for no or minimal jail time. However, according to John Reed Stark, a former SEC official and cybersecurity consultant, prosecutors could consider prison terms of up to 10 years given the seriousness of the charges.
BREAKING NEWS: US DOJ Reveals Prosecutors May Argue 10-Year Jail Sentence for CZ
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) charged Changpeng Zhao (CZ), and CZ pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Bank Secrecy Act. The charge comes from a mammoth… pic.twitter.com/gJ5EsB082Q
— John Reed Stark (@JohnReedStark) November 26, 2023
Stark insisted that Zhao was a flight risk and argued that he should remain in the United States until he was sentenced. He also hinted at potential complications for Zhao's sentence, which could include a three-year ban from dealing with the crypto exchange he founded.
“Passionate analyst. Thinker. Devoted twitter evangelist. Wannabe music specialist.”