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Binance founder ordered to remain in US ahead of prison sentencing

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San Francisco, Nov 28 (IANS) Binance founder Changpeng Zhao (also known as CZ), who pleaded guilty to criminal charges tied to his cryptocurrency exchange, has been ordered by a federal judge to remain in the US at least temporarily, according to a ruling issued by the court.

Zhao was released last week on a $175 million bond and has a sentencing hearing on February 23.

Prosecutors urged that Zhao be prevented from leaving the country before his sentencing, but his lawyers argued that he be allowed to travel, saying in a briefing that he "voluntarily flew" to the US for his guilty plea, reports CNBC.

“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,” the government wrote in a filing to the court.

Prosecutors stated that they had already submitted an "exceptional recommendation" that Zhao be allowed to remain free until his sentencing.

They stated that Zhao poses a flight risk, but that it "could be managed by requiring him to remain in the US and preventing him from returning to the safe haven of the UAE", the report mentioned.

Last week, Zhao stepped down as the CEO of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, after pleading guilty to federal charges and agreeing to pay $4.3 billion in fines.

“Zhao, a Canadian national, also pleaded guilty to failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering (AML) programme, in violation of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and has resigned as CEO of Binance,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

According to court documents, Binance admitted to prioritising growth and profits over compliance with US law.



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