CZ tried to pledge his entire Binance stake to leave US in January

    2024.01.25 | exchangesranking | 88onlookers

    Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao tried to pledge his multibillion-dollar stake in Binance.US as security to be permitted to travel back to the United Arab Emirates temporarily, according to a newly unsealed court filing.

    The Jan. 24 court filing unveiled a previously sealed Dec. 22 letter to Judge Richard Jones from Zhao’s lawyers showing Zhao offered up his equity in Binance.US, which, according to the letter, was worth $4.5 billion based on a funding round two years ago.

    Zhao had hoped to travel to the UAE for up to four weeks in early January to see a friend or family member undergoing surgery and staying in hospital, but the letter noted federal prosecutors did not consent to the request.

    Court records show Judge Richard Jones denied the request in a Dec. 29 closed-door hearing.

    Zhao pleaded guilty to money laundering on Nov. 21 and is currently free on a $175 million bond in the United States. He faces up to 18 months in prison and agreed not to appeal any sentence up to that length.

    Parts of the recently unsealed letter are still redacted and reference the name of the person having surgery and the type of surgery, along with other sensitive and personal information.

    A partially redacted segment of the letter shows Zhao offering his Binance.US stake. Source: CourtListener

    Related: Binance and SEC lawyers present arguments on crypto as a security: Report

    Jones previously blocked Zhao from traveling to the UAE as originally part of his bond conditions, saying his “enormous wealth and property abroad” meant he was “likely to flee if he returns to the UAE.”

    He ordered the former Binance boss to stay in the United States until his Feb. 23 sentencing date. Zhao’s whereabouts within the country are unknown, and he has remained mostly inactive on X, having last posted on Dec. 6, 2023.

    Zhao stepped down as Binance’s CEO in November 2022 as part of a $4.3 billion settlement with U.S. regulators in which he admitted to running an unlicensed money-transmitting business and violating the Bank Secrecy Act.

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