Changpeng Zhao, the co-founder of leading digital asset trading platform Binance, made an attempt to pledge his multi-billion-dollar stake in the US arm of the crypto exchange to make it out of the United States last month.
A court filing from Wednesday revealed that Zhao, also known as CZ in the digital asset sector, tried to travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a December 22 letter to Judge Richard Jones.
Binance Co-founder Offered Stake as Security
As per the filing, the letter from Zhao’s lawyers stated that the crypto entrepreneur was willing to offer his stake in Binance.US as security, which was worth close to $4.5 billion based on a funding round two years ago.
Traveling to the UAE
It is important to note that Zhao sought to travel to the UAE in early January for up to four weeks to see a friend or family member undergoing surgery and staying in the hospital. The lawyers did, however, note in the letter that the federal prosecutors had rejected the billionaire’s requests.
Notably, the documents also show that Judge Jones denied the request in a December 29 closed-door hearing.
The Case Against Binance Co-Founder
The co-founder of Binance, along with the parent exchange and its US arm, were sued by US regulators in 2023 on multiple counts. The former chief executive of the world’s largest digital asset trading platform by market capitalization decided to step down as the firm’s CEO after settling a case with the Department of Justice (DoJ).
Currently, the judge has ordered the crypto billionaire to stay in the US until February 23, and his presence in the country has been under wraps. Zhao has also become quite inactive on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
$175M Bail Bond
The former Binance boss paid a whopping $175 million bail bond on the condition that if he fails to come to court during the trial, a fine of $250,000 and a maximum of 10 years in jail would be applicable.
While the US sentencing guidelines state that CZ could receive a 12- to 18-month sentence, prosecutors are gunning for a longer term.