CZ Agrees to $175M Bail Deal to Return to U.S. Before 2024 Sentencing

CZ Agrees to $175M Bail Deal to Return to U.S. Before 2024 Sentencing

Key Insights

  • Binance founder CZ must pay $175M bond, return to U.S. 14 days before Feb 2024 sentencing under plea deal.
  • Failure to appear carries $250k fine, 10 years jail; CZ forfeits $15M if violates bail terms.
  • Bond deal suggests CZ intends to keep residing in Dubai but will travel for sentencing after DOJ settlement.

NEW YORK β€” Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, founder of cryptocurrency giant Binance, will pay a whopping $175 million bond and must arrive back in the United States at least 14 days prior to his scheduled sentencing under the terms of his guilty plea agreement with U.S. authorities.

A federal court document dated November 21st spells out the conditions surrounding Zhao’s bond, after the Binance chief appeared in Seattle Monday to enter a guilty plea related to violating the Bank Secrecy Act. Failure to adhere to the requirements could result in a $250,000 penalty and up to 10 years imprisonment.

Conditions of Zhao’s bond. Source: PACER

While Zhao currently resides in Dubai, which has no extradition treaty with the U.S., he has consented to provide his place of residence to the court under the agreement. He will also forfeit $15 million placed in a separate trust account if he does not show up for his Feb. 23, 2024 sentencing hearing.

Read also! U.S. Seeks to Block Former Binance CEO CZ From Leaving Country Amid Flight Risk Concerns

The DOJ inked a landmark $4.3 billion settlement on Monday resolving criminal and civil probes into Binance centered on allegations of money laundering and sanctions violations. Although the charge to which Zhao pleaded guilty carries an 18-month sentence, prosecutors hinted they will seek additional prison time.

Read also! Binance Founder Changpeng Zhao Steps Down as CEO

By posting the significant bond and guarantor amounts, legal experts say Zhao aims to demonstrate he does not pose a flight risk, despite largely operating abroad in Dubai. The bail terms also suggest he intends to maintain residence outside the U.S. in the meantime, before making his court-mandated return.

While marking the likely conclusion of Binance’s long-running legal woes in the U.S., the repercussions for its founder Changpeng Zhao still appear far from over even after relinquishing the CEO chair.

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