Binance founder can't return to UAE for now, judge rules

Asian Tech Press (Nov 28) -- A U.S. federal judge ruled on Monday that Binance founder Changpeng Zhao cannot return to the UAE for the time being.

U.S. District Judge Richard Jones in Seattle decided to stay a ruling allowing Zhao to return to his residence in the UAE before his sentencing in February next year.

U.S. prosecutors had previously asked the court to overturn the decision, saying there was a "substantial risk" that Zhao would not return to the U.S., given Zhao's substantial assets, his ties to the UAE, and the lack of an extradition treaty between the U.S. and the UAE.

Last week, Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, and its founder pleaded guilty to money laundering and sanctions violations charges brought by the U.S. Department of Justice.

In an effort to reach a settlement with the U.S. regulator, Zhao, a non-U.S. citizen holding dual citizenship in Canada and the UAE, has resigned as Binance's CEO.

Zhao faces up to 10 years in prison, but analysts believe his sentence may not exceed 18 months under the plea agreement.

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