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Lawyers representing Changpeng Zhao, the former CEO of Binance, are advocating for a US judge to dismiss the Justice Department’s proposal to prevent him from returning to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) before his sentencing.

In a recent filing, Zhao’s legal team requested US District Judge Richard Jones in Seattle to uphold the bail conditions set earlier, allowing Zhao to leave the US as he awaits sentencing. This request follows Zhao’s decision to step down as Binance’s CEO after pleading guilty to failing to implement an effective anti-money laundering program at the global cryptocurrency exchange.

US authorities have accused Binance of violating US anti-money laundering and sanctions laws. The exchange reportedly failed to report over 100,000 suspicious transactions linked to organizations labeled as terrorist groups by the US, including Hamas, al Qaeda, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

As part of a plea deal, Binance has agreed to pay more than $4.3 billion in fines, and Zhao personally has agreed to a $150 million penalty to the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Zhao also faces a potential 18-month prison sentence.

The Justice Department has raised concerns about Zhao’s potential flight risk, emphasizing that the UAE, where Zhao is a citizen, does not have an extradition treaty with the US. However, Zhao’s lawyers countered by highlighting his commitment to a substantial bail agreement and his voluntary return to the US to accept responsibility for his actions. They argue that allowing Zhao to go back to the UAE would enable him to prepare his family for the upcoming sentencing.


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