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US court orders ex-Binance CEO to surrender ALL passports ahead of sentencing

A United States (US) district court has ordered Changpeng
Zhao, ex-Binance CEO, to surrender all his passports — active or expired — to a
third party and keep authorities updated on his travel plans.

 

The order was contained in a legal filing submitted on
Tuesday, modifying Zhao’s bond conditions for release.

 

This comes after the US applied to modify his bond
requirements on March 5.

 

Bond conditions, by law, are court-imposed requirements that
a defendant on pretrial release must follow until his case is resolved.

 

As part of the bond, Richard Jones, a US district judge,
ordered Zhao to remain in the US and notify court authorities of any travel
arrangements.

 

“Defendant must remain in the continental United States
through the imposition of sentence,” the judge said.

 

“Defendant must notify Pretrial Services before any travel
within the continental United States.

“Defendant must surrender his current Canadian passport to a
third-party custodian employed and supervised by his counsel of record. The
third-party custodian must retain control over that Canadian passport and must
accompany Defendant on any travel that requires identification documents.

 

“Defendant must surrender all other current and expired
passports and travel documents to his counsel of record, who may return those
documents to defendant only with authorization from Pretrial Services or the
Court. Defendant may not apply for or obtain a new passport or travel document
from any country without the Court’s permission.”

 

In November 2023, the US SEC accused Zhao of money
laundering, unlicensed money transmitting and violations in Seattle.

 

Binance was also accused of facilitating the trading of
several crypto tokens the SEC deemed as securities.

 

On November 1, 2023, Zhao pleaded guilty to the charges,
with Binance also agreeing to pay more than $4 billion in fines and other
penalties.

 

Zhao, who stepped down as Binance’s CEO in November last
year, is scheduled to be sentenced on April 30, 2024.

 

In response to the bond modification, the crypto expert had
argued that the restrictions were unnecessary as his travel “has not been an
issue to date”.

 

Meanwhile, in Nigeria, Binance has ceased all naira
transactions following a clampdown by the federal government over regulatory
infractions.

 

Two top executives of the company have been detained so far.

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