Judge denies UAE travel for Binance’s CZ, despite $4.5 billion offer

  • A federal judge denied CZ’s entry into the United Arab Emirates for the “hospitalization and surgery” of a person in his life.
  • In theory, CZ could potentially receive a maximum prison sentence of ten years.
  • According to a recent criminal court document, CZ has offered to put his $4.5 billion in Binance ownership as security for his return to the United States.

A judge has denied a request by Binance founder Changpeng Zhao, also known as ‘CZ’, to travel to the UAE, despite an offer of $4.5 billion in Binance equity.

According to a recent court document, the crypto exchange founder, who is awaiting sentencing in the US for his guilty plea to money laundering and other charges last month, offered to use his Binance equity as collateral for his return to the United States, totalling $4.5 billion. However, the federal judge last month denied his request to travel to his home in the United Arab Emirates to attend the “hospitalization and surgery” of a person in his life.

Guilty plea and sentencing details

The founder of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange pleaded guilty to the failure to implement anti-money laundering rules and violations of U.S. sanctions. CZ agreed to post a $175 million bail, securing it with $15 million in cash held in trust to ensure his attendance throughout the sentencing process.

CZ’s sentencing is set for February 23, 2024. As per the plea agreement, CZ stepped down as CEO of Binance. He is facing a maximum of ten years in prison. In addition, Binance acknowledged guilt and committed to paying forfeitures and penalties amounting to $4.3 billion. The company is also contending with lawsuits from investors seeking the return of their billions, making this a critical period for one of the industry’s giants.

Also read: CZ quits as Binance CEO after $4.3 billion fine for money laundering

Travel denial amid legal challenges

In a letter sent last month, CZ’s lawyer requested Judge Jones to permit him to fly to Abu Dhabi on January 4 for a duration of one to four weeks. This would enable him to attend the patient’s hospitalization, surgery, and post-operative recovery. The letter’s copy, filed on Wednesday, has the patient’s name redacted.

The letter, which highlighted that federal prosecutors had not approved CZ’s request, contained redacted details regarding the medical treatment. Judge Jones conducted a closed hearing on December 29 and dismissed CZ’s travel request.

Also read: Binance, SEC argue about regulator oversight of cryptocurrencies

Judge expresses significant flight risk

Another request by CZ to visit the United Arab Emirates was denied by Judge Jones earlier in December, his legal team arguing that the reason involved “media information regarding Mr. Zhao’s child.” The judge asserted that CZ posed a significant flight risk due to his “enormous wealth.” His significant wealth and family ties to the UAE were key factors in the judge’s decision.

“The defendant has enormous wealth and property abroad, and no ties to the United States. His family resides in the UAE, and it appears that he has favored status there. Under these circumstances, the Court finds that the defendant has not established, by clear and convincing evidence, that he is not likely to flee if he returns to the UAE,” stated Judge Jones on December 7.

Sylvia-Shen

Sylvia Shen

Sylvia Shen, a news reporter at BTW media dedicated in Fintech and Blockchain. She graduated from University of California, Davis. Send tips to s.shen@btw.media.

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