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US Court Blocks CZ Travel Bid Despite Heavy Equity Offering

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By Jaden Francis - - 5 Mins Read
Chanpeng Zhao, Binance CEO
Chanpeng Zhao, Binance CEO | (Credit: Contribune)

As Binance founder Changpeng "CZ" Zhao's legal saga continues, a US federal judge has denied his plea to travel to the UAE despite offering $4.5 billion in Binance equity as collateral.

This recent denial adds another layer of complexity to Zhao's ongoing legal battle, which originated from a guilty plea to anti-money laundering charges and now confronts impending sentencing.

What a day, CZ Zhao, facing hard times. However, let's dive into its challenges.

Challenges for CZ Zhao

Zhao has requested to travel due to a family emergency, but this has raised concerns about his potential flight risk. This is because he has substantial wealth abroad and limited ties to the US.

These concerns were previously highlighted by a court ruling which ordered him to remain in the country until his sentencing.

Zhao's sentencing is scheduled for February. Under potential federal guidelines, a prison term of 10 to 18 months would be imposed.

His resignation from the Binance US board and the accompanying $4.3 billion penalty for anti-money laundering violations led to Binance's exit from the US market.



Despite the obstacles Changpeng 'CZ' Zhao faces, the future of Binance and his standing in the cryptocurrency community remain uncertain.

Overcoming this setback will require Zhao's determination, leveraging his extensive experience and expertise to navigate the complexities surrounding his legal challenges and emerge victorious.

The Guilty Plea and Penalties

The United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington has recently made an announcement regarding Binance.

The company has pleaded guilty to several charges including conspiracy to conduct an unlicensed money transfer business, failure to maintain an adequate anti-money laundering scheme, operating an unlicensed money transfer business, and violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).

As part of the plea agreement, Binance will pay a hefty fine of $1.8 billion and relinquish $2.5 billion in illicit profits.

This sum includes $1.6 billion in trading fees from Binance's US clients and $900 million reflecting the value of transactions between US and Iranian customers.

Moreover, Binance has committed to refraining from making public statements contradicting its admission of guilt.

Additionally, the company must establish a comprehensive compliance program, which an independent compliance supervisor will monitor for three years.

Importantly, Binance has agreed to fully cooperate with the government in all matters related to the outlined conduct, involving individuals, entities, and any other ongoing investigations throughout the term of the plea agreement.

The Admission and Charges Against CZ Zhao

In an unexpected appearance at a Seattle court, CZ Zhao has agreed to plead guilty to causing violations and financial institutions to breach the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).

He will face a $50 million penalty and is obligated not to challenge the legitimacy of the crimes he pleads guilty to.

Thirteen charges have been filed against Binance and Mr. Zhao by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). They have been accused of unlawfully soliciting investors and clients, misrepresenting the trading volume on their platform, and misleading the public about their regulatory oversight.

The crypto firm and its founder are alleged to have transferred customer funds to companies under Mr. Zhao's control.

CZ Zhao, a Chinese-Canadian business magnate, is widely recognized as CZ.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler asserts that Mr. Zhao and Binance were involved in a complex web of deception, conflicting interests, a lack of transparency, and intentional law violations.

Gensler warns the public to exercise caution before investing their hard-earned assets in these illicit platforms as the SEC files a 136-page lawsuit.

With the collapse of Binance's competitor FTX two years ago, US authorities are steadfast in their commitment to leveraging existing laws to eliminate fraud and address other issues within the cryptocurrency industry.