(Bloomberg) -- Binance Holdings Ltd. founder Changpeng Zhao can’t return to his home in the United Arab Emirates before he’s sentenced in the US for a felony crime, a federal judge in Seattle ruled.

US District Judge Richard Jones on Thursday rejected the billionaire’s request to return to the UAE following his guilty plea in November. The head of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange and his company admitted to failing to implement anti-money laundering policies and US sanctions violations as part of a broad agreement with prosecutors that allows the exchange to continue operating.

Zhao, who stepped down as Binance’s chief executive officer as part of the plea deal, theoretically faces as much as 10 years in prison but is expected to get no more than 18 months. Zhao also agreed to pay a $50 million fine.

Thursday’s ruling overruled an earlier decision by a US magistrate judge allowing Zhao to return to the UAE.

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