Crypto lawyer wants to depose Changpeng Zhao for civil case

Adam Moskowitz, who has been lead counsel in several civil cases involving crypto companies, filed a motion to take a deposition from former Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao.

In a Dec. 8 filing in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Flordia's Miami Division, Moskowitz said Zhao's testimony would be “crucial to the claims and defenses of all parties” involved. The law firm filed the motion as part of a Billion dollar lawsuit against ZhaoBinance and crypto influencers, which a court ordered suspended in August.

Moskowitz and his firm have represented several clients in cases against high-profile crypto companies and related entities. He was a lawyer for many victims of the FTX collapse in a lawsuit targeting celebrities who promoted the crypto exchange, as well as a lawsuit claiming that investors suffered losses of soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo promoting Binance non-fungible tokens.

“Typically, because CZ is a named defendant, we simply send a notice for his deposition,” Moskowitz told Cointelegraph. “In our case, we all agreed to wait for discovery, until the judge rules on Binance's demand that we litigate our class action lawsuit before the AAA arbitration association. Nonetheless [of] Where we end up, CZ’s testimony will be crucial for all parties.”

The crypto lawyer said the filing came in response to a Washington judge. ordering Zhao to stay in the US until his sentencing in February 2024. In November, US authorities announced a $4.3 billion settlement with Binance in which CZ resigned as CEO and pleaded guilty to a felony charge.

“[W]“We have no idea how long she will be sentenced to prison, it could be 60 years or no years at all, we certainly did not participate in the discussions between CZ and the government,” Moskowitz said. “If he is not imprisoned, he will certainly flee back to the United Arab Emirates. “If they imprison him, it is not easy to fix it and demand a deposition from prison.”

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According to Moskowitz, the fact that Zhao pleaded guilty to federal charges, which alleged a lack of safeguards during his tenure as CEO of Binance, could support some of the plaintiffs' claims in the civil suit. The case alleged that Binance promoted unregistered securities, although the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the body that oversees securities, It wasn't a party to the agreement with Zhao, Binance and the government.

He added:

“The SEC certainly hasn't stopped its own litigation against CZ and Binance and is still alleging that the BNB token is an unregistered security, so there is $4 billion in alleged securities, which could really be zero in a minute.”

It is unclear whether a judge will grant Moskowitz's motion given that Zhao is no longer Binance's CEO and has stepped back from its leadership. Cointelegraph reached out to Binance but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

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