Crypto News- In a surprising turn of events, former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao sought permission from the courts to travel to the United Arab Emirates temporarily, offering his multibillion-dollar stake in Binance.US as collateral. The details emerged from a court filing on January 24, revealing a previously sealed letter dated December 22 from Zhao’s legal team to Judge Richard Jones.
CZ’s Attempt to Pledge Entire Binance Stake for Departure from the US in January
The letter disclosed that Zhao intended to visit the UAE for up to four weeks in early January to support a friend or family member undergoing surgery. The equity in Binance.US that Zhao proposed as security was valued at $4.5 billion, based on a funding round from two years ago. However, federal prosecutors opposed the request, and Judge Richard Jones, in a closed-door hearing on December 29, denied Zhao’s plea.
Notably, Zhao had already pleaded guilty to money laundering on November 21 and is currently out on a $175 million bond in the U.S. The guilty plea could result in a prison sentence of up to 18 months, and Zhao has agreed not to appeal any sentence within that range.
Binance’s Former CEO, Changpeng Zhao’s Travel Plea Denied Amidst Legal Challenges
The court records indicate that Judge Jones initially restricted Zhao from traveling to the UAE as part of his bond conditions, citing concerns about his substantial wealth and assets abroad, which raised the risk of him fleeing the country. Zhao has been ordered to remain in the United States until his sentencing on February 23. Despite his whereabouts within the country being unknown, Zhao has maintained a low profile, with his last activity on social media platform X dated December 6, 2023.
It’s worth noting that Zhao resigned as Binance’s CEO in November 2022 as part of a $4.3 billion settlement with U.S. regulators. In this settlement, he admitted to running an unlicensed money-transmitting business and violating the Bank Secrecy Act.