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U.S. Court Orders Binance CZ to Surrender Canadian Passport

CZ | March 14, 2024

Crypto and justice scales - U.S. Court Orders Binance CZ to Surrender Canadian Passport

Changpeng Zhao, the founder of Binance, has been ordered by a U.S. district court to surrender his Canadian passport

As reported in the WSJ, this move comes as part of revised bail conditions amidst ongoing legal challenges facing Zhao.  The court's decision was influenced by the Ministry of Justice's request, leading to Zhao being required to hand over all valid and expired passports.

This decision underscores the gravity of the legal proceedings against Zhao, who, in November 2023, pleaded guilty to violating the Bank Secrecy Act and agreed to pay a massive $4.3 billion fine. Following his plea, Zhao was released on a $175 million bail, with conditions now tightened to prevent any international travel without court approval.

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The updated bail terms stipulate that Zhao must stay within the continental U.S. until his sentencing, with any travel within the country to be reported to pretrial services. Zhao's legal team has been exploring alternatives that would allow him to travel abroad, highlighting the international dimension of his personal and professional life.

The recent directive from U.S. District court Judge Richard A. Jones mandates that Zhao must notify the court's Pretrial Services of any domestic travel plans and is prohibited from international departure before his sentencing. Zhao must entrust his Canadian passport to a third-party custodian, appointed from his legal team's staff. This appointed custodian is also tasked with accompanying Zhao on any journeys requiring identification.

Zhao must relinquish all passports, whether current or expired, to his legal representatives and is forbidden from acquiring new passports or travel documents without explicit court consent. These precautions are designed to guarantee Zhao's presence within the United States' legal boundaries, especially given the lack of an extradition agreement with the United Arab Emirates—a country to which Zhao has expressed a desire to return and where his family predominantly resides.

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The sentencing, initially scheduled for March, has been postponed to April 30, with Zhao facing up to 18 months in prison for his guilty plea related to anti-money laundering law violations in the U.S.

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