U.S. prosecutors have filed a motion urging Changpeng Zhao, the former CEO of Binance, to remain in the United States until his scheduled sentencing hearing in February 2024, citing concerns over the risk of flight.
Zhao, who recently pleaded guilty to a charge related to Binance's failure in maintaining an effective anti-money laundering program, faces the request from prosecutors seeking to prevent his departure to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ahead of his sentencing date.
The prosecutors highlighted Zhao's citizenship in both the UAE and Canada, coupled with his substantial financial assets outside the United States and limited connections to the country, as reasons behind the perceived flight risk.
Despite Zhao's proposal to return to the UAE on a $175 million appearance bond secured by cash in trust and the assurance of three individuals pledging property or cash, the prosecutors contest that he has not provided sufficient evidence to guarantee he won't flee if allowed to return to the UAE.
Previously, Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida granted Zhao permission to travel back to the UAE under the appearance bond, provided the court does not review the decision before November 27. However, the judge mandated Zhao's return to the U.S. by February 9, 2024.
Prosecutors argued in the recent filing that Zhao's substantial assets and strong connections to the UAE, along with the legal complexities surrounding extradition from the UAE, necessitate his presence in the United States until the sentencing date of February 23, 2024.
The court will deliberate on this matter, balancing the considerations of flight risk against the presented assurances, determining whether Zhao will be permitted to return to the UAE before his scheduled sentencing.