Source: X / @cz_binance
Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, commonly known as CZ, has been blocked from traveling again as his sentencing for criminal charges approaches in late February.
On December 29, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle, Judge Richard Jones issued a sealed order denying Zhao’s “request for permission to travel.” CZ was granted $175 million in bail as he awaits sentencing for various violations of banking laws but is subject to travel restrictions preventing him from leaving the United States.
While the details of the motion are not publicly available, CZ and his defense team have sought to seal documents related to his travel outside the U.S., citing the inclusion of private and sensitive medical information about one of Zhao’s children. The filings aim to justify the sealing request to protect the confidentiality of personal details.
This sealed order marks the second instance of the court restricting Zhao’s movements. Last month, Judge Richard Jones ordered that a condition allowing Zhao to return to his home in the United Arab Emirates be stayed until the court resolves the government’s motion for review. Prosecutors had raised concerns about Zhao being a flight risk, citing his wealth and the lack of an extradition treaty between the UAE and the U.S.
The specific medical information provided to the court under seal in Zhao’s case remains undisclosed. Zhao is known to have three children with Yi He, a former talk show host and co-founder of Binance.
CZ and Binance were part of a lengthy investigation that concluded with a substantial settlement with various U.S. agencies. Zhao had to step down as CEO, and he is currently facing criminal charges related to the violations committed by the cryptocurrency exchange.
Binance CEO CZ’s Wealth Surges Despite Legal Troubles, Exceeding $37 Billion as Sentencing Looms
On November 21, CZ faced charges relating to the failure to maintain an effective anti-money laundering (AML) program at Binance. Following the charges, CZ pleaded guilty in Seattle court to violating the Bank Secrecy Act and also causing Binance to violate it.
As part of the plea agreement, he agreed to pay a $50 million fine. The U.S. Department of Justice settled a related case with Binance last month. The settlement involved alleged money laundering, fraud, and sanctions violations, with Binance agreeing to pay a $4.3 billion fine. Subsequently, he was granted bail ahead of his sentencing.
However, prosecutors raised concerns about CZ being a flight risk, citing his wealth and the lack of an extradition treaty between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the U.S. On December 7, Judge Richard Jones ruled in favor of the government prosecutors, barring CZ from leaving the United States.
Despite legal challenges, Zhao’s wealth has reportedly grown rapidly in 2023, increasing by almost $25 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His wealth now exceeds $37 billion, making him the 35th richest person globally, according to the index.
CZ is scheduled to be sentenced on February 23, 2024, and he could face a maximum prison sentence of 18 months based on the current legal proceedings.
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