Changpeng Zhao, the former CEO of Binance, finds himself once again barred from traveling as he awaits sentencing in the U.S. for breaking banking laws.
Requesting permission to travel while on bail for the second time since his guilty plea in November, Zhao’s plea was denied by U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones during a recent court hearing in Seattle. The details of his proposed trip and its purpose were confidentially submitted to the court.
This decision follows a recent overturning of a ruling that initially permitted Zhao to return to the United Arab Emirates before his scheduled sentencing in February. Federal prosecutors contested this decision, emphasizing Zhao’s substantial assets and the absence of an extradition treaty between the United States and the UAE.
As part of his agreement with authorities, Zhao, who stepped down as Binance’s CEO, admitted guilt to the charge of failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program. He also agreed to pay a $50 million fine, resolving years of regulatory scrutiny. Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, pleaded guilty to violating anti-money laundering and sanctions laws, inking a historic $4.3 billion settlement.
In an effort to ensure his appearance at the sentencing in February, Zhao proposed posting a $175 million bond, secured by $15 million in cash held in trust. Despite his net worth exceeding $37 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, Zhao faces a potential 18-month prison sentence.
The case is identified as US v. Zhao, 23-cr-00179, US District Court, Western District of Washington (Seattle).