US DOJ files motion to block CZ’s return to UAE over flight risk concerns

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US DOJ files motion to block CZ’s return to UAE over flight risk concerns US DOJ files motion to block CZ’s return to UAE over flight risk concerns Assad Jafri · 40 mins ago · 2 min read

The DOJ believes that CZ should be forced to stay in the U.S. stating he may not come back for sentencing if allowed to leave.

2 min read

Updated: November 23, 2023 at 6:02 pm

US DOJ files motion to block CZ’s return to UAE over flight risk concerns

Web Summit / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr. Remixed by CryptoSlate

The U.S. Department of Justice (US DOJ) has filed a motion to prevent former Binance CEO and founder Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao from leaving the continental United States before sentencing.

The move comes after Binance and CZ pleaded guilty to charges of Bank Secrecy Act violations on Nov. 21 and agreed to pay $4.3 billion to settle the lawsuit.

CZ stepped down from his role as part of the settlement.

Flight Risk

CZ was granted the possibility of returning to his UAE residence under a $175 million bond agreement. U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian A. Tsuchida had allowed CZ to leave the U.S. with conditions, including a substantial financial bond and guarantors.

However, the DOJ believes that CZ is unlikely to return to the U.S. for sentencing if allowed to leave. The DOJ expressed concerns over CZ’s substantial wealth and connections in the UAE — a nation without an extradition treaty with the U.S. — and filed a motion urging U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones to overturn the previous decision.

The DOJ argues that CZ’s strong family ties in the UAE, combined with the looming possibility of an 18-month prison sentence, significantly increase the risk of him not returning for sentencing.

The government contends that despite CZ’s voluntary appearance to enter his plea, the prospect of incarceration might influence his decision to remain with his family in the UAE, leaving the U.S. authorities with limited recourse.

Decision expected next week

Judge Jones is now tasked with evaluating various factors, including the nature of the charges, the weight of the evidence against CZ, and his personal history and characteristics. These factors encompass CZ’s character, family ties, financial resources, and past conduct.

Legal experts anticipate a vigorous defense from CZ’s legal team, highlighting his cooperation and the impact of his absence on his family, who cannot travel to the U.S.

While district court judges generally do not overturn decisions by magistrates, the unique circumstances of this case make the outcome unpredictable.

The DOJ’s motion raises the possibility of Judge Jones imposing stricter bail conditions or seeking additional assurances to ensure CZ’s return for sentencing. The final decision is expected by Nov. 27.

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