Prosecutors request Changpeng Zhao surrender all passports ahead of sentencing

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The United States Attorney’s Office has requested that a federal judge approve additional travel restrictions for former Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao

In a Feb. 23 filing in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, U.S. Attorney Tessa Gorman requested Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida approve a motion specifying the conditions for CZ to remain free on bail. Prosecutors asked Zhao to stay within the continental U.S. until his sentencing hearing on April 30 and give three days’ notice for any travel to allow the government to raise objections.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office asked that CZ surrender his Canadian passport and “all other current and expired passports and travel documents” to his legal team. Zhao also holds citizenship in the United Arab Emirates, where he had requested to travel to visit family ahead of his sentencing — a motion the judge denied.

According to the filing, “Zhao’s counsel object to this motion as written,” suggesting his legal team may continue to pursue a way for the former Binance CEO to leave the country. In November 2023, CZ pleaded guilty to one felony count for failing to maintain an effective Anti-Money Laundering program at Binance. Since the indictment was filed, he has remained free on a $175 million bond.

Related: Binance VIP traders got sneak peek of US settlement: Report

Zhao stepped down as Binance CEO as part of a $4.3 billion deal between the crypto exchange and U.S. authorities. On Feb. 23, Judge Richard Jones accepted the $1.8 billion fine and forfeiture of $2.5 billion. CZ, Binance, and Binance.US are still facing a civil case with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which filed a lawsuit in June 2023.

“This really is a case where the ethics of the company were compromised by greed,” said Judge Jones at the Feb. 23 hearing.

After CZ’s departure, former Binance head of regional markets Richard Teng stepped up as CEO. Cointelegraph spoke with Teng in a December 2023 interview, in which the CEO described the exchange as “totally different” compared to its business six years prior.

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