Prosecutors: Ex-Binance CEO must surrender passport

u.s. doj seeks $4b settlement from binance, ceo may face criminal charges

Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao must surrender all passports before his sentencing on April 30, federal prosecutors say.

In recent court documents filed on Feb. 23 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, prosecutors altered Zhao’s bond conditions. They have requested Judge Brian Tsuchida to set specific bail conditions for Zhao to ensure he remains within the continental U.S.

Moreover, the court filing mandates the ex-Binance CEO to provide a three-day prior notice for any planned travel, allowing the government to voice any concerns.

This motion follows previous court rulings that curtailed Zhao’s travel, confining him to the continental United States under supervision.

The new stipulations proposed by the prosecution demand Zhao relinquish his Canadian passport to a third-party custodian and bar him from obtaining any new travel documents without the court’s express permission.

The filing noted Zhao’s legal team’s resistance, hinting at their intention to challenge the limitations on their client’s international movements.

Zhao, a Canadian national with citizenship in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), had earlier moved to seek a permit to travel to the UAE for a family visit, which the presiding judge dismissed.

The clampdown follows Zhao’s November 2023 guilty plea on a charge concerning the failure to implement a robust anti-money laundering program at Binance, after which the court released him on a $175 million bond.

His resignation as Binance’s CEO was a provision of a multi-billion-dollar settlement with U.S. authorities, which included a hefty fine and forfeiture. On Feb. 23, Binance agreed to the staggering penalty of $4.3 billion as part of a plea bargain that District Judge Richard Jones sealed.

The plea deal sets forth an additional enforcement measure: for the next five years, Binance is to be under the watchful eye of a compliance monitor.

New York-based law firm Sullivan & Cromwell was reportedly designated to fulfill the role.

The proposed changes to the crypto billionaire’s bond conditions reflect a growing concern over flight risk and underscore the seriousness with which the authorities are treating his case.

Should the court accept the prosecution’s request, Zhao’s movements would be severely limited, demonstrating the heightened scrutiny facing figures in the digital currency space amidst regulatory crackdowns.

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