April 19, 2024
DOJ Opposes Binance Founder's Release Citing Flight Risk
Policy & Regulation

DOJ Opposes Binance Founder’s Release Citing Flight Risk

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is vehemently opposing the release of Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, the founder of Binance, ahead of his sentencing, citing concerns about his potential flight risk.

Despite CZ’s defence emphasizing his voluntary appearance in court as evidence of his commitment to resolving the case, the DOJ argues that the severity of the potential sentence may provide motivation for him to flee, particularly given his status as a citizen of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and limited ties to the U.S.

In a recent filing, CZ’s counsel contended that his voluntary self-surrender, intent to resolve the case, and the substantial bail package proposed should ease concerns about flight risk, asserting that Judge Tsuchida found him to present no such risk, even if residing in the UAE. However, the U.S. Attorneys are pushing back on this argument, highlighting the absence of an extradition treaty between the U.S. and the UAE and suggesting that Zhao’s return, especially in the face of potential severe sentencing, is not guaranteed.

The filing from the U.S. Attorneys contends, “The reality is that the top-end of the Guidelines range may be as high as 18 months, and the United States is free to argue for any sentence up to the statutory maximum of ten years. The penalties he faces at sentencing will no doubt seem significant to him, which weighs in favour of the reasonable restrictions the United States proposes.”

On Tuesday, Changpeng Zhao pleaded guilty to violating U.S. anti-money laundering laws and stepped down from his role as Binance’s CEO. The exchange itself entered guilty pleas to multiple criminal and civil charges, agreeing to a staggering $4.3 billion in penalties, marking one of the largest corporate fines in the history of the U.S. Department of Justice. Meanwhile, Sam Bankman-Fried, another former executive of the exchange, is also in custody, awaiting sentencing.

As the legal proceedings unfold, the case against CZ and Binance continues to draw significant attention within the cryptocurrency and regulatory spheres, underscoring the broader implications for the industry.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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