CZ tried to pledge his entire Binance.US stake to leave US last month

Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao tried to pledge his multibillion-dollar stake in Binance.US as security to be permitted to travel back to the United Arab Emirates temporarily, according to a newly unsealed court filing.

The Jan. 24 court filing unveiled a previously sealed Dec. 22 letter to Judge Richard Jones from Zhao’s lawyers showing Zhao offered up his equity in Binance.US, which, according to the letter, was worth $4.5 billion based on a funding round two years ago.

Court records show Judge Jones denied the request in a Dec. 29 closed-door hearing.

Zhao pleaded guilty to money laundering on Nov. 21 and is currently free on a $175 million bond in the United States. He faces up to 18 months in prison and agreed not to appeal any sentence up to that length.

Parts of the letter still redacted are those that reference the name of the person having surgery, the type of surgery along with other sensitive and personal information.

CZ tried to pledge his entire Binance.US stake to leave US last month
A partially redacted segment of the letter shows Zhao offering his Binance.US stake. Source: CourtListener

Related: Binance and SEC lawyers present arguments on crypto as a security: Report

Judge Jones previously blocked Zhao from traveling to the UAE, citing his risk of flight and “enormous wealth and property abroad.”

He ordered the former Binance boss to stay in the United States until his Feb. 23 sentencing date.

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

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