Binance founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao has agreed to a substantial $175 million release bond as part of legal proceedings in a Seattle federal court. This move comes ahead of his scheduled sentencing on Feb. 23, 2024, raising speculation about his potential return to Dubai.
According to a bond document filed on Nov. 21, CZ Zhao commits to disclosing his future residence and faces the possibility of a warrant for arrest if he fails to appear for his court date. Failure to comply with this condition carries a hefty $250,000 fine and a maximum jail term of 10 years.
To secure his compliance, CZ Zhao has posted $15 million in a trust account, separate from the bond. Notably, this amount will be forfeited if he breaches the bond conditions. The document also outlines two guarantors responsible for posting $250,000 and $100,000, respectively.
CZ Zhao’s Guilty Plea and Potential Extended Sentence
CZ Zhao has pleaded guilty to violating the Bank Secrecy Act, an offense carrying an 18-month sentence. However, recent reports from The New York Times suggest that prosecutors may seek a longer sentence for the Binance founder.
The United States is expected to review Zhao’s bail order, which will become effective on Nov. 27 at 5 pm Washington time unless a judge intervenes. If a review is granted before this date, Zhao is required to remain in the U.S. until a decision is reached.
While Zhao has been based in Dubai for several years, and there is no formal extradition agreement between the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates, a bilateral agreement enhancing law enforcement cooperation was established on Feb. 24 between the two countries.
These bond arrangements follow a substantial $4.3 billion settlement between Binance and the U.S. government. This settlement resulted in Zhao stepping down as CEO of Binance and paying a significant $50 million fine. The repercussions of these legal developments continue to unfold, leaving the crypto community watching closely for further updates.