Legal Maneuvers: Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao Seeks Permission to Depart U.S. Ahead of Money Laundering Sentencing 2024-04-20 11:45:24

Legal Battle Unfolds: Ex-Binance CEO Seeks Approval to Leave U.S. Before Money Laundering SentencingFormer Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao's legal team is seeking permission from a federal judge to allow him to return to his home in the United Arab Emirates before his sentencing for money laundering. Despite pleading guilty earlier in the week and stepping down from Binance as part of a $4.3 billion settlement with the Department of Justice, Zhao faces the prospect of up to 10 years in prison. A magistrate's separate ruling initially permitted Zhao to travel home, but Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors are contesting this decision, urging U.S. District Judge Richard Jones to prevent Zhao from leaving.

In a motion filed in the Western District of Washington in Seattle, Zhao's attorneys argue that he is not a flight risk, emphasizing his voluntary appearance in court to plead guilty. The motion highlights Zhao's dual citizenship in Canada and the UAE, asserting that his family ties in the UAE do not pose a flight risk. The legal filing notes that Zhao's family has recently expanded, with the birth of their third child a few months ago. Allowing him to stay in the UAE, the motion argues, enables him to care for his family and prepare for his return to the U.S. for sentencing.

The Justice Department has not yet responded to requests for comment on Zhao's request. Judge Richard Jones is expected to make a ruling on the matter by Monday. Meanwhile, Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, is under investigation by federal regulators and law enforcement agencies, including the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. The recent settlement with the government saw Binance officials admitting to failure in preventing money laundering on the platform and illegal operations in the U.S. This legal saga continues to unfold against the backdrop of wider scrutiny on Binance's practices, involving allegations of facilitating "darknet" activities and ransomware hackers on its platform.

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Khristopher J. Brooks — A Trusted Voice in Business JournalismIn the dynamic landscape of business journalism, Khristopher J. Brooks stands out as a seasoned reporter with a rich background and a diverse portfolio. His journey from the Omaha World-Herald to Newsday and the Florida Times-Union has culminated in his current role as a reporter for CBS MoneyWatch, where he brings his wealth of experience to the forefront.

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