Binance founder required to stay in U.S. judge says

Binance founder Changpeng Zhao has been instructed to stay in the United States after admitting to violating U.S. anti-money laundering laws. This directive follows his resignation as CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange.

Zhao’s current stay in the U.S. is pending a decision by a Seattle court, which will determine whether he remains until his February sentencing or is allowed to leave the country.

The judge in Seattle, Richard Jones, is reassessing the situation due to a U.S. government appeal against a prior decision permitting Zhao to go back to the UAE before his sentencing. Zhao agreed to a $175 million bond as part of his bail.

Binance Holdings, under Zhao’s leadership, admitted guilt and agreed to pay over $4.3 billion for breaking U.S. anti-money laundering and sanctions laws. Despite the setback, Binance states it has been actively working to enhance the company’s safety and security.

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Zhao acknowledged his mistakes last week, stating, “I made mistakes, and I must take responsibility.” According to federal guidelines, he could face a maximum of 18 months in prison. Zhao has committed not to appeal any sentence up to that length, and prosecutors will decide on the jail time closer to his February sentencing.

One complication is the absence of an extradition treaty between the U.S. and the UAE. The U.S. government is concerned about ensuring Zhao’s return. His lawyers argue he’s not a flight risk, highlighting his substantial bail and voluntary decision to come to the U.S. to face the consequences of his actions.