A former CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao ‘CZ’, filed a legal brief yesterday challenging the government’s attempt to push for CZ’s jail time. Instead, they suggested a strategy of a combination of home detention and incarceration.
The filing states, “Mr. Zhao presents no risk of flight, having voluntarily come before the Court to accept responsibility and plead guilty, and the government’s motion should be denied.”
Zhao entered a guilty plea to one count of failing to keep up a successful anti-money laundering program earlier this week. Zhao, Binance, and several US agencies consented to pay $4.3 billion in fines and penalties as part of a global agreement that included the plea.
Zhao’s defense team contends in the brief that he does not constitute a flight risk, pointing to his voluntary arrival in the US to take responsibility, his clean criminal record, and the magistrate judge’s “robust” bail requirements. In addition, they argue that his UAE citizenship does not render him a flight risk, disputing the government’s insistence that there is no extradition arrangement.
Zhao’s guarantors contributed more than $5 million in cash and assets, and he has already sent $15 million to his US attorney.
Zhao was ordered by the court to deposit a large $175 million personal recognizance bond, and this week he was freed on bail pending his sentence hearing. He is required to reappear in court in Seattle fourteen days before his February sentencing date.
After resigning from Binance and pleading guilty, the defense argues that Zhao does not need to run away at this point given the expected 10- to 18-month sentence guidelines. They contend that rather than “run,” he arrived to settle the dispute.