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CZ's Attempt to Pledge Binance.US Stake to Leave US Rejected by Judge

Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, or CZ, tried to offer his multibillion-dollar stake in Binance.US as collateral to temporarily travel to the UAE but was denied by a judge. CZ faces sentencing in February after pleading guilty to money laundering.

Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, also known as CZ, made an unsuccessful attempt to pledge his multibillion-dollar stake in Binance.US as collateral in exchange for temporary travel permission to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to newly unsealed court documents.

Plea for Travel Permission

In a letter dated December 22, CZ's lawyers informed Judge Richard Jones of their client's desire to travel to the UAE for up to four weeks in early January to visit a friend or family member undergoing surgery and receiving medical treatment in the country. As a guarantee, CZ offered his equity in Binance.US, which was valued at $4.5 billion based on a funding round two years ago.

Request Denied

Despite CZ's offer, federal prosecutors did not grant their consent for the trip. Judge Jones subsequently denied the request in a closed-door hearing on December 29. The judge had previously blocked CZ from traveling to the UAE, citing his substantial wealth and assets abroad as factors that might lead to him fleeing if he returned to the UAE.

Changpeng Zhao had pleaded guilty to money laundering on November 21 and is currently free on a $175 million bond in the United States. He faces a potential prison sentence of up to 18 months and has agreed not to appeal any sentence up to that length. His sentencing date is set for February 23.

Remaining Details Sealed

Although parts of the unsealed letter provide insights into CZ's request, sensitive and personal information, such as the name of the person undergoing surgery and the nature of the surgery, remains redacted.

CZ's Exit from Binance

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

CZ is currently required to remain in the United States until his sentencing, and his recent activities on X (formerly known as Twitter) have been limited, with his last post dating back to December 6.