A U.S. federal judge rejected Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao’s request to travel back to the United Arab Emirates last month, despite the Binance founder and ex-CEO proposing to provide his $4.5 billion Binance.US stake as assurance that he would return for his sentencing.
Why CZ Offered To Post His Entire Binance Stake
A U.S. court shot down CZ’s request to return to the UAE for up to four weeks in early January despite offering his multibillion-dollar stake as security.
As per a court filing this week, Changpeng’s counsel requested in December 2023 that he be permitted to travel to Abu Dhabi so that he could be present for the “hospitalization and surgery” of an unnamed friend or family member.
To ensure his timely return to the U.S., CZ offered a “significant additional property and financial security,” which included his equity from Binance.US valued at “$4.5 billion in the last round of fundraising 2 years ago”.
The request came after the Chinese-Canadian crypto billionaire pleaded guilty in November 2023 to charges of failing to uphold adequate anti-money laundering measures at the crypto exchange. As part of the plea deal with the U.S. Department of Justice, he agreed to resign from his position as Binance CEO. Binance also agreed to pay $4.3 billion in penalties and completely exit the U.S. market for its anti-money laundering and sanctions violations.
A Flight Risk
In December 2023, U.S. district judge Richard Jones ruled that Zhao must remain in the U.S. in the months leading up to his February 23 sentencing date, citing his “enormous wealth” overseas and lack of an extradition treaty between the UAE and the United States.
Prosecutors had contended that CZ posed too great of a flight risk despite his voluntary self-surrender. They also argued that the UAE government might protect the Binance founder from U.S. extradition attempts due to his citizenship and residency status there.
Changpeng is currently free on a $175 million bond in the US. He faces as many as 18 months behind bars at a minimum-security prison, but the Department of Justice could fight for a longer jail term.