COURT DENIES CZ’S TRAVEL REQUEST DESPITE $4.5B EQUITY 

Recently released court documents reveal that Changpeng Zhao, the founder of the cryptocurrency exchange Binance, faced a setback when a federal judge denied his request to travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In November, Zhao pleaded guilty in a Seattle federal court for failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program at Binance. In response, Binance agreed to pay $4.3 billion in penalties related to the case. Subsequently, Zhao stepped down as CEO, and his sentencing is scheduled for February 23. Despite the guilty plea, Zhao has been free in the U.S. on a $175 million release bond.

In January, Zhao’s lawyers submitted a letter requesting permission from Judge Jones to allow him to travel to Abu Dhabi for one to four weeks. The purpose of the travel was to be present for the hospitalization, surgery, and recovery of an individual, whose identity was redacted in the filed letter. However, federal prosecutors had not given their consent to Zhao’s travel request.

Judge Jones denied the request, citing concerns about Zhao being a flight risk due to his “enormous wealth” and his family’s residence in the UAE. Despite the denial, Zhao remains free on bond, with the condition that he cannot travel outside the United States.

This situation contrasts with other cases, such as former Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky, who was released on a $40 million bond, and former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, who initially stayed in his parents’ California home but was later remanded due to allegations of witness intimidation.

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