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Binance’s Former CEO, CZ, Attempts to Pledge Entire Stake for January Departure from the US

Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao sought permission to utilize his multibillion-dollar stake in Binance.US as collateral, aiming to secure approval for a temporary return to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The court filing, unsealed on January 24, disclosed a previously concealed letter dated December 22, from Zhao’s legal team to Judge Richard Jones.

According to the letter, Zhao proposed offering his equity in Binance.US, assessed at $4.5 billion based on a funding round from two years prior.

The intention behind the request was for Zhao to travel to the UAE for a period of up to four weeks in early January to support a friend or family member undergoing surgery and staying in the hospital. However, federal prosecutors did not grant their consent to the request, as revealed in the letter.

Court records indicate that Judge Jones, in a closed-door hearing on December 29, denied Zhao’s plea to travel temporarily. This decision was made within the context of Zhao’s guilty plea to money laundering on November 21.

Currently, Zhao is out on a $175 million bond in the United States, facing a potential 18-month prison sentence. As part of the plea agreement, he has committed not to appeal any sentence up to that duration.

Notably, certain portions of the recently unsealed letter remain redacted, withholding information about the individual undergoing surgery, the nature of the procedure, and other sensitive and personal details.

The court documents reveal that Judge Jones had previously barred Zhao from traveling to the UAE as initially stipulated in his bond conditions. The judge cited Zhao’s “enormous wealth and property abroad” as a factor that increased the likelihood of flight upon his return to the UAE.

Consequently, Zhao has been ordered to remain within the United States until his scheduled sentencing on February 23.

Changpeng Zhao stepped down as Binance’s CEO in November 2022 as part of a $4.3 billion settlement with U.S. regulators. This settlement involved his admission to operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business and violating the Bank Secrecy Act.

The recent legal developments shed light on the intricate legal landscape surrounding Zhao, adding further complexity to his situation as he awaits sentencing.

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