| 1 March 2024, Friday |

Ex-Binance CEO Zhao urges judge to allow him to leave US before sentencing

Attorneys representing Changpeng Zhao, the former CEO of Binance, are pleading with a U.S. court to deny the Justice Department’s motion to prevent Zhao from leaving the United Arab Emirates until he is found guilty of breaking anti-money laundering regulations.

In a brief on Thursday, Zhao’s attorneys requested that U.S. District Judge Richard Jones in Seattle refrain from reversing the bail terms that a magistrate judge had set on Tuesday, allowing Zhao to leave the country prior to his sentence.

Zhao, a citizen of the UAE and Canada, stepped down as CEO of Binance on Tuesday after pleading guilty to willfully causing the global cryptocurrency exchange to fail to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program.

U.S. authorities said Binance broke U.S. anti-money laundering and sanctions laws and failed to report more than 100,000 suspicious transactions with organizations the U.S. described as terrorist groups including Hamas, al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

The company as part of a plea deal agreed to pay more than $4.3 billion. Zhao has agreed to pay a $150 million penalty to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and prosecutors in a Wednesday filing said he faces up to 18 months in prison.

  • Reuters