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Binance founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao has been ordered to stay in the United States until his sentencing in February 2024, with a federal judge determining there’s too much of a flight risk if the former exchange CEO is allowed to return to the United Arab Emirates. Seattle district court Judge Richard Jones wrote in his order:
“The defendant has enormous wealth and property abroad, and no ties to the United States […] His family resides in the UAE and it appears that he has favored status in the UAE. Under these circumstances, the Court finds that the defendant has not established by clear and convincing evidence that he is not likely to flee if he returns to the UAE.”
Jones accepted Zhao’s guilty plea to one count of Bank Secrecy Act violations, which the Binance founder submitted over two weeks ago on Nov. 21 alongside a $4.3 billion settlement with U.S. agencies. Now, the ex-CEO of Binance faces up to 18 months in prison.
Meanwhile, the co-founder of Terraform Labs and its former CEO, Do Kwon, may be extradited to the United States. According to local reports, the Montenegrin Minister of Justice Andrej Milović plans to grant U.S. officials’ request for Kwon’s extradition.
Kwon was arrested in Montenegro in March and sentenced to four months in prison for using falsified travel documents. He has also been charged in the U.S. and South Korea for his alleged role in the collapse of Terraform Labs.
EU officials reach deal on AI regulation
The European Parliament and Council negotiators reached a provisional agreement on the rules governing the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the European Union. The agreement stipulates that AI models with significant impact and systemic risks must evaluate and address those risks, perform adversarial testing for system resilience, report incidents to the European Commission, ensure cybersecurity, and disclose energy efficiency.
The deal forbids cognitive behavioral manipulation, scraping facial images from the internet or CCTV footage, social scoring, and biometric systems inferring personal details like beliefs and orientation. Consumers would have the right to file complaints and get explanations.
Almost a thousand crypto exchanges blocked in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan’s Financial Monitoring Agency claims it denied access to 980 illegal platforms in 2023 alone. It also launched nine investigations into “illegal exchange operations” and money laundering. The list of unlicensed exchanges blocked includes some major international platforms. In November, it was revealed that Kazakh citizens could not access the Coinbase website after an order from the Ministry of Culture and Information blocked it.
Ministry representatives explained to journalists that the request came from a different government body, the Ministry of Digital Development, which accused Coinbase of violating the Digital Assets Law.
Blockchain leadership bill passed in the U.S. House committee
A United States Congress committee has unanimously passed a pro-blockchain bill, which would task the U.S. commerce secretary with promoting blockchain deployment and thus potentially increasing the country’s use of blockchain technology. The 13-page blockchain bill would direct Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to “take actions necessary and appropriate to promote the competitiveness of the United States related to the deployment, use, application, and competitiveness of blockchain technology or other distributed ledger technology.”
A “Blockchain Deployment Program” would support the technology’s use. It would also establish government advisory committees to support blockchain adoption with federal agency representatives, blockchain industry stakeholders, experts and others forming its membership.