Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao attempted to pledge his multibillion-dollar investment in Binance. According to a newly released court petition, the United States will allow security personnel to temporarily return to the United Arab Emirates.
The Jan. 24 court filing revealed a previously sealed Dec. 22 letter from Zhao’s lawyers to Judge Richard Jones, in which Zhao offered up his equity in Binance.US, which the document stated was worth $4.5 billion based on a funding round two years prior.
Zhao had intended to travel to the UAE for up to four weeks in early January to meet a friend or family member who was undergoing surgery and staying in a hospital, but the letter stated that federal prosecutors did not approve the request.
According to court records, Judge Richard Jones refused the request during a closed-door hearing on December 29.
Zhao pleaded guilty to money laundering on November 21 and is now free on a $175 million bond in the United States. He faces up to 18 months in prison and has agreed not to appeal any sentence up to that amount.
Parts of the freshly disclosed letter remain censored and include the name of the person undergoing surgery, the type of procedure, and other sensitive and personal information.
Jones had previously barred Zhao from traveling to the UAE as part of his bond conditions, claiming that his “enormous wealth and property abroad” made him “likely to flee if he returns to the UAE.”
He ordered the former Binance CEO to remain in the United States until his February 23 sentencing date. Zhao’s whereabouts within the country are unknown, and he has been generally quiet on X, with his latest post on December 6, 2023.
Zhao resigned as Binance’s CEO in November 2022 as part of a $4.3 billion settlement with US regulators in which he admitted to operating an unauthorized money-transmitting firm and breaching the Bank Secrecy Act.