CZ Really Wants to Go Home to the UAE

By Beta Syndicate | betasyndicate.eth | 30 Nov 2023


Why Does the US Department of Justice Want CZ to Stay?

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a longstanding policy of not entering into bilateral extradition treaties with certain countries, including the United States. This decision is based on a combination of legal, cultural, and diplomatic considerations. Here are some key factors that contribute to the absence of an extradition treaty between the UAE and the US:

1. Legal and Judicial System Differences: The legal systems in the UAE and the US operate under different principles and practices. Discrepancies in legal frameworks, including criminal laws and judicial procedures, can make it challenging to establish a comprehensive and mutually agreeable extradition treaty.

2. Dual Criminality Principle: Extradition treaties typically require a demonstration of "dual criminality," meaning that the alleged offense must be recognized as a crime in both the requesting and requested countries. Differences in legal definitions and interpretations can hinder the alignment needed for extradition agreements.

3. Concerns About Fair Trials: The UAE places a strong emphasis on ensuring fair trials and protecting the rights of individuals. Concerns about the criminal justice system in requesting countries, including potential issues related to human rights or due process, can be a significant factor in the decision not to establish extradition treaties.

4. Diplomatic Considerations: Diplomatic relationships play a crucial role in extradition negotiations. The UAE, like many other countries, carefully considers its diplomatic ties and broader strategic partnerships when evaluating extradition arrangements. Political and diplomatic considerations can influence the willingness to engage in such agreements.

5. No Universal Approach: Not all countries have extradition treaties with each other, and the decision to establish such treaties is discretionary. The absence of an extradition treaty between the UAE and the US is not unique; many countries choose not to enter into such agreements for various reasons.

It's important to note that while there may not be a formal extradition treaty, the UAE has cooperative agreements and mechanisms for legal assistance with various countries, including the United States. These agreements often involve case-by-case evaluations and adherence to legal processes.

Knowing that CZ is both politically connected in the UAE, and has vast resources of monetary disposable income, the US holding CZ was almost a prerequisite and should not have been a shock to legal experts or the crypto community.

Why this Matters to the US Justice System, and Why they are Holding CZ

Changpeng Zhao, widely known as CZ and the founder of Binance, is currently facing an unexpected extension of his stay in the U.S. A federal judge is deliberating a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) motion that seeks to keep him in the country until his sentencing early next year, following his recent guilty plea for violating the Bank Secrecy Act.

After stepping down as CEO of Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, Zhao had initially secured his release on a substantial $175 million personal recognizance bond. This bond, facilitated by a $15 million trust account and collateral exceeding $5 million from three guarantors, came with the condition that he could return to the UAE, where his wife and children reside. However, District Judge Richard Jones has temporarily halted this part of the bond release.

The U.S. DOJ argues that Zhao's substantial wealth makes him a potential flight risk, emphasizing the absence of an extradition treaty between the U.S. and the UAE. The government's legal representatives are not seeking immediate incarceration but are advocating for Zhao to remain in the U.S. until sentencing.

While Zhao's legal team contends that his voluntary return to the U.S. to plead guilty demonstrates his commitment to taking responsibility, the DOJ's concerns center around the perceived risk of him leaving the country. Notably, his family, including his wife and children, faces constraints in relocating for an extended period merely for the sentencing process.

The impending sentencing, scheduled for February 23, 2024, holds potential outcomes ranging from a few months to a maximum of 10 years in prison, with the possibility of appealing any sentence surpassing 18 months. Additionally, Zhao has agreed to a significant $50 million fine as part of his plea agreement.

As this high-profile legal saga unfolds, and the cryptocurrency community closely watches the fate of one of its influential figures, it stands reasonable to consider the facts surrounding the UAE.

The uncertainty surrounding CZ's immediate future underscores the complexities and legal intricacies involved in high-profile cases within the crypto industry. The outcome of the judge's ruling on the DOJ motion will undoubtedly have lasting implications for both Binance and the broader crypto ecosystem.

Who Else Moved to the UAE in Crypto?

  • Changpeng Zhao (CZ): Founder of Binance, one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges.
  • Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss: Co-founders of Gemini, a U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange.
  • Brock Pierce: Cryptocurrency entrepreneur, investor, and former child actor known for his involvement in various blockchain projects.
  • Nick Spanos: Bitcoin advocate and founder of Bitcoin Center NYC.
  • Roger Ver: Early Bitcoin investor and supporter, often referred to as "Bitcoin Jesus."
  • Bobby Lee: Co-founder of BTCC, a major cryptocurrency exchange, and a prominent figure in the crypto space.
  • Jimmy Song: Bitcoin educator, developer, and author known for his contributions to the cryptocurrency community.
  • Francis Pouliot: CEO and co-founder of Bull Bitcoin, a Bitcoin exchange in Canada.
  • Kris Marszalek: CEO and co-founder of Crypto.com, a cryptocurrency platform offering various services.
  • Brian Armstrong: CEO and co-founder of Coinbase, a leading cryptocurrency exchange.

Please Note: This list of names does not mean that these people moved to the UAE to avoid justice or criminal charges. It is simply a list of known cryptocurrency celebrities who have reportedly moved to the UAE.

What could be the real attraction to becoming a resident of the UAE, versus becoming a citizen?

Navigating UAE Citizenship: A Brief Overview

Embarking on the pursuit of UAE citizenship involves a strategic alignment with key criteria. Here's a succinct guide to the essential requirements:

  1. Residency Prerequisite: Attaining long-term residency, particularly through visas such as the Golden Visa, forms the foundational step towards UAE citizenship. Meeting residency conditions initiates eligibility considerations.

  2. Financial Commitments: Citizenship aspirants are expected to make substantial financial investments within the UAE, encompassing real estate acquisitions, entrepreneurial endeavors, or other economically impactful contributions. These investments underscore commitment to the nation's economic progress.

  3. Professional Excellence: Distinction in one's professional domain significantly enhances citizenship prospects. Demonstrating exceptional achievements and contributions to the UAE's advancement establishes a compelling case for consideration.

  4. Cultural Integration: A genuine assimilation into the Emirati cultural milieu is imperative. Citizenship applicants should exhibit a sincere appreciation for and adherence to local customs, traditions, and societal norms, fostering cultural harmony.

  5. Exemplary Conduct: Upholding an unblemished legal and moral record is paramount. Applicants must exhibit an irreproachable history devoid of legal complications, aligning with the UAE's commitment to a citizenry of integrity.

Interesting to say the least. Exclusive, or inclusive? You decide what the real attraction is.

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