Judge Dismisses Binance Founder Travel Request Despite Offering $4.5B Equity as Security

Judge Dismisses Binance Founder Travel Request Despite Offering $4.5B Equity as Security

The founder of the largest global crypto exchange, Binance, Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao, has seen his bid to return to UAE dismissed. The US judge turned down the request by the former Binance chief executive to travel as an unnamed individual sought hospitalization and surgery. 

Zhao had sought court leave to travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in December to offer the $4.5 billion Binane US equity to guarantee his return. A review of the court filing on Tuesday, January 23, reveals that Zhao’s lawyers had, in December 2023, sought permission for the former crypto exchange chief to travel to UAE. 

Judge Dismisses Zhao’s Bid for UAE Travel

The court filings indicated that traveling to the UAE would ensure Zhao’s presence as the unnamed individual sought hospitalization and surgery within Abu Dhabi. 

The court filings reveal that Zhao offered additional financial and property security to ensure he would return to the US on time. The crypto mogul included his equity holdings within the BinanceUS, carrying a value above $4.5 billion in a fundraising round held two years ago. The US Judge denied the plea by Zhao’s legal team. 

The former Binance is restricted from traveling outside the US following his guilty plea in November to charges leveled by multiple agencies in the US. The charges relate to failure to implement an effective anti-money laundering (AML) program at the crypto exchange and agreed to step down as CEO of Binance as part of a settlement with the US Department of Justice.

Analysts are projecting Zhao to face a 10- to 18-month sentence following the guilty plea. The federal sentencing is due following the settlement that mandates Binance to exit the US market besides paying $4.3 billion for AML violations and circumventing sanctions. 

Judge Upholds December Ruling to Bar Zhao Exit

The settlement deal with the Department of Justice (DOJ) prompted Zhao to relinquish his chief executive role. Zhao announced the departure and immediate replacement by Richard Teng. 

The move to deny the request tabled by Zhao’s legal team complies with the December 2023 ruling by a federal judge. The ruling directed Zhao to remain within the US until his February sentencing. 

The December 2023 ruling lifted the earlier announcement, allowing Zhao to travel to the UAE and return to the US a fortnight before the February trial date. 

The federal judge indicated that Zhao has enormous wealth and property located abroad. Besides, the ruling indicated that Zhao lacks ties to the United States. 

The court ruled in favor of the prosecutors who labeled Zhao a flight risk. They demonstrated that he is a non-US resident with substantial resources outside the country. 

The ruling indicated that Zhao is a UAE citizen and resides in the country with no extradition treaty.  

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Eric Lozano
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Eric Lozano

Eric Lozano, a notable expert in crypto journalism, possesses a keen eye for blockchain trends and digital currency analysis. His articles delve deep, elucidating complex crypto topics with precision and flair. As the crypto realm expands, Eric remains an influential and trusted voice for enthusiasts and professionals alike

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