Judge Issues Ruling On Changpeng Zhao Returning To UAE

December 8, 2023 10:26 am Comments

A U.S. district judge has ruled on the issue of the now-former CEO of Binance Changpeng Zhao’s request to return to the UAE.

According to the ruling from Judge Richard Jones, Changpeng Zhao poses a ‘flight risk’ and will not be allowed to return to the UAE where he lives before sentencing.

That sentencing hearing won’t occur for at least six months. Law professor and former SEC official John Reed Stark explained the ruling in more detail:

“US District Judge Richard Jones just ruled that Binance founder Changpeng Zhao (CZ) can’t return to his home in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) before he is sentenced in the US, which will not be for at least six months. Per Judge Jones:

“The court agrees with the government that this is an unusual case. The defendant has enormous wealth and property abroad, and no ties to the United States.

His family resides in the UAE and it appears that he has favored status in the UAE. Under the circumstances, the court finds that the defendant has not established by clear and convincing evidence that he is not likely to flee if he returns to the UAE.

The bond conditions allow the defendant to remain free and travel within the United States, and his family is free to visit him in the United States. These are hardly burdensome impositions on the defendants, freedom pending sentencing.”

Judge Jones is spot-on. CZ’s crimes are not regulatory parking tickets but are tantamount to mass murder and mayhem, and his wealth and special “granted” citizenship in a non-extraditing country like the UAE render CZ a legitimate flight risk.

The historic Binance plea involved a $4.3 billion payment from Binance, the largest penalty in US Treasury and FinCEN history. This gargantuan settlement reflects the egregious nature of Binance’s conduct, the high volume of its transactions, and the intensity of senior management’s involvement.

But the stark reality is that corporations only act through the individuals who run them. That is why DOJ also filed a felony charge against, and secured a guilty plea from, CZ for willfully violating the Bank Secrecy Act.

As CEO of Binance, Zhao willfully enabled a litany of horrendous crimes and gruesome acts of terrorism — and he should remain in the U.S. until he is ordered to face the consequences.

Binance was a global criminal enterprise operated as an absolute dictatorship by CZ. Binance and CZ were alter egos, one and the same. For example, per the admissions admissions gleaned from the Binance-related pleadings:

— It was because of CZ that Binance failed to implement programs to prevent and report suspicious transactions with terrorists — including Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Al Qaeda, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) — ransomware attackers, money launderers, and other criminals, as well as matching trades between U.S. users and those in sanctioned jurisdictions like Iran, North Korea, Syria, and the Crimea region of Ukraine.

— It was because of CZ that Binance failed to comply with AML and sanctions obligations. CZ enabled a range of illicit actors to transact freely on their platform.

— It was because of CZ that Binance willfully failed to report well over 100,000 suspicious transactions that it processed as a result of its deficient controls, including transactions involving terrorist organizations, ransomware, child sexual exploitation material, frauds, and scams.

— It was because of CZ that despite being one of the largest receivers of ransomware proceeds, and transacting in millions of dollars of ransomware proceeds from attacks involving at least 24 different strains of ransomware, Binance failed to report these transactions.

— It was because of CZ that Binance never reported transactions with websites devoted to selling child sexual abuse materials, including Dark Scandals.

— It was because of CZ that, despite sending and receiving virtual assets proceeds from large-scale hacks, account takeovers, and darknet markets dealing in illegal narcotics, counterfeit and fraud-related goods and services, as well as other illegal contraband, Binance never reported any such transactions.”

Blockworks had more on the story:

The government is also under the belief that the UAE offered Zhao citizenship and wouldn’t be inclined to extradite Zhao.

Zhao’s legal team argued that he self-surrendered to the government and took “full responsibility for past actions” with his plea agreement. He also has no prior criminal history.

Multiple outlets also provided coverage of the legal order and the current plight of the now-former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao.

Crypto Potato added:

CZ opposed the government’s motion on several grounds, including his lack of a criminal history.

He also mentioned that with Binance, he had taken full responsibility for past actions through their guilty pleas and resolution, stating that neither his wealth nor residence in the UAE is enough to make him a flight risk.

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