With the United States lacking an extradition treaty with the UAE, Seattle Judge Richard Jones ordered that CZ must remain with the country for the time being before he determines where the crypto billionaire is a flight risk.
Despite pleading guilty to all charges and paying a hefty bond to reassure the United States Department of Justice, Binance Holdings Ltd former Chief Executive Officer Changpeng Zhao (CZ) will not be returning to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) soon, after District Judge Richard Jones reviewed the decision by Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida. According to the decision made by Judge Jones on November 27, the Binance ex-CEO presents some serious flight risk once he returns to the UAE, as there is no substantial evidence that he will return for the sentencing hearing in February next year. Notably, CZ lawyers have argued that the US DoJ should allow him to return to his family in UAE as he had no obligations to enter the United States in the first place and plead guilty to the charges.
According to a motion filed by the DoJ, CZ faces up to 18 months of imprisonment after violating United States laws by enabling international crimes through Binance. The defendant’s attorneys have countered the charges as harsh for a non-violent offender who pleaded guilty to the fraud charges. The DoJ is convinced that CZ could use the existing close relationship with the UAE to avoid prosecution in the United States.
“Mr. Zhao is not simply a citizen of the UAE but has favored status there, having obtained citizenship by invitation. While Mr. Zhao characterizes this invitation and citizenship as an “honor” that he would not leverage to avoid US law, it demonstrates his strong connections to the UAE. Given these connections, should Mr. Zhao decide not to return to the United States to face an uncertain sentence, there is no reason to believe that the UAE would hand him over,” the DoJ noted.
Bad News for Ex-CEO and Binance Family
According to John Reed Stark, a former chief at the SEC’s Office of Internet Enforcement, CZ is facing mass murder among other gross violations, which would significantly influence the decision by District Judge Jones. However, CZ seems to be mentally and physically prepared for whatever the outcomes based on his actions. Moreover, he pleaded guilty to all charges compared to FTX’s former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) who fought the prosecutors until a jury found him guilty of all seven charges.
“What happens next? Judge Jones may render a decision based solely on the pleadings, may seek additional information from the parties or he may set a date for a hearing on the dueling motions – so stay tuned for more possible Binance-related fireworks,” Stark noted.
The fight between the United States and Binance has been described as a significant event that ushers in a new era for the entire cryptocurrency market. Moreover, the United States through FinCEN is expected to have access to Binance’s order books for the next five years, thus ensuring high standards for the industry.