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Binance Founder Changpeng Zhou’s Multi-Billion Dollar Plea To Leave United States Rejected

According to a report from Cointelegraph, former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao attempted to pledge his significant stake in Binance.US as a form of collateral to obtain permission to return to the United Arab Emirates on a temporary basis. This information comes from a recently unsealed court document.

The document, filed on January 24th, reveals a previously concealed letter from December 22nd to Judge Richard Jones from Zhao's legal team. In the letter, Zhao offered his equity in Binance.US, which was valued at $4.5 billion based on a funding round two years ago.

Zhao had intended to visit the UAE for up to a month in early January to be with a friend or family member who was in the hospital undergoing surgery. However, the letter indicates that federal prosecutors did not approve his request.

Court records show that Judge Richard Jones rejected the request during a closed-door hearing on December 29th.

Zhao confessed to money laundering charges on November 21st and is currently out on a $175 million bond in the United States. He faces a potential sentence of up to 18 months in prison and has agreed not to appeal any sentence up to that length.

Portions of the recently unsealed letter remain censored, including references to the individual undergoing surgery and the nature of the surgery, as well as other personal and sensitive information.

Judge Jones had previously barred Zhao from traveling to the UAE as part of his bond conditions, stating that his "immense wealth and property abroad" made it likely that he would attempt to flee if he returned to the UAE. He ordered Zhao to remain in the United States until his sentencing date on February 23rd. Zhao's current whereabouts within the country are unknown, and he has been largely inactive on social media since December 6, 2023.

Zhao resigned as Binance's CEO in November 2022 as part of a $4.3 billion settlement with U.S. regulators, where he admitted to operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business and violating the Bank Secrecy Act.

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