US Prosecutors Want CZ to Hand In All Passports Prior to Trial

Ex-Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao faces travel restrictions and possible passport seizures requested by U.S. prosecutors amid legal proceedings.
changpeng zhao passports

Former Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao, commonly known as CZ, finds himself entangled in legal proceedings as U.S. prosecutors seek to impose stringent travel restrictions prior to his sentencing. The tightening of restrictions comes amidst a backdrop of a $4.3 billion settlement agreement between Binance and U.S. authorities, underscoring the gravity of the situation.

Prosecutors Seek Tighter Travel Restrictions

Attorney Tessa Gorman have made formal request to the federal judge Brian Tsuchida, urging additional travel restrictions for CZ. In the court filings, the United States Attorney’s Office emphasized the need for CZ to remain within the continental United States until his sentencing hearing on April 30th. Moreover, prosecutors now demand CZ surrender his Canadian passport and “all other current and expired passports and travel documents” to his legal team.

Denial of Changpeng Zhao’s Travel Requests

CZ’s legal woes stem from his failure to maintain an effective Anti-Money Laundering (AML) program at Binance, to which he pleaded guilty in November 2023. Despite being out on bail since then, with a hefty bond amounting to $175 million, the legal saga continues to unfold.

CZ’s attempts to travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to visit family prior to sentencing were denied by the judge, citing concerns about his potential flight risk due to his citizenship ties outside the United States. Despite objections from CZ’s legal counsel, prosecutors remain steadfast in their pursuit of travel restrictions to ensure his presence during legal proceedings.

Changpeng Zhao travel restrictions
Part of court documents stating that Zhao must hand over his passports — Source

Judicial Approval of Settlement

On February 23rd, Judge Richard Jones approved the monumental $4.3 billion settlement agreement between Binance and U.S. authorities. This agreement includes a staggering $1.8 billion fine and the forfeiture of $2.5 billion, highlighting the significant consequences of the legal actions against Binance exchange.

Judge Jones highlighted the special nature of the case, stating:

“This really is a case where the ethics of the company were compromised by greed.”

Ethical Concerns and Leadership Transition

During the approval of the settlement, Judge Jones emphasized the ethical lapses within Binance, noting how greed had compromised the company’s integrity. Following CZ’s departure, Richard Teng, the former head of regional markets at Binance, assumed the role of CEO, signifying a leadership transition amidst the legal turmoil.

Despite the approved settlement, CZ, Binance, and Binance.US are still facing a civil case filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), initiated in June 2023. The outcome of this case remains uncertain, adding further complexity to the legal landscape surrounding Binance and its former CEO.

Conclusion

As the legal proceedings unfold, CZ finds himself navigating a complex web of travel restrictions and legal obligations. The approved settlement and ongoing civil case underscore the far-reaching implications of the allegations against Binance and its former leadership. With sentencing looming on the horizon, all eyes remain on the outcome of this high-profile case in the digital asset industry.

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