A federal judge has ordered Binance founder Changpeng Zhao, commonly known as CZ, to stay in the US for a minimum of one year after he entered a guilty plea to criminal charges related to his cryptocurrency exchange.
Zhao has a sentencing hearing on February 23 and was freed last week on a $175 million bail.
Zhao’s attorneys said in a briefing that he “voluntarily flew” to the US for his guilty plea, despite the prosecutors’ requests to keep him from leaving the country before his sentence, according to CNBC.
The government said in a court filing that “in the vast majority of cases, a multi-billionaire defendant who has pleaded guilty, faces possible prison time, and lives in a country that does not extradite its citizens to the US would be detained.”
According to the prosecution, they had previously made a “exceptional recommendation” that Zhao be granted a grace period before his sentence.
Zhao is a flight risk, they said, but the assessment noted that this “may be managed by requiring him to remain in the US and preventing him from returning to the safe haven of the UAE”.
Zhao resigned as the CEO of the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world last week after entering into a guilty plea to federal charges and agreed to pay $4.3 billion in penalties.
The Justice Department released a statement saying, “Zhao, a Canadian national, also pleaded guilty to failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering (AML) program, in violation of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), and has resigned as CEO of Binance.”
Court records reveal that Binance acknowledged putting expansion and profitability ahead of US legal compliance.