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Supreme Decree: US Court Mandates Binance Founder Changpeng Zhao Surrender Passports

Supreme Decree: US Court Mandates Binance Founder Changpeng Zhao Surrender Passports – In a significant legal development, a United States (US) district court has issued a compelling order against Changpeng Zhao, the founder and former CEO of Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. The court has mandated Zhao to surrender all his passports to a designated third party and maintain transparency regarding his travel plans.

Legal Mandate Alters Zhao’s Bond Conditions

The court’s directive, disclosed in a legal filing on Tuesday, marks a pivotal shift in Zhao’s bond conditions for release. This adjustment follows a petition filed by US authorities on March 5, seeking modifications to Zhao’s bond requirements.

Understanding Bond Conditions

Bond conditions represent the stringent demands imposed by the court on a defendant during pretrial release, ensuring compliance until the resolution of the case under the law.

Specific Orders Issued by the Court

As part of the revised bond conditions, Richard Jones, a US district judge, has stipulated several key requirements for Zhao:

  • Zhao is mandated to remain within the territorial confines of the continental United States until the sentencing phase.
  • Any travel plans within the US must be promptly communicated to court authorities through Pretrial Services.
  • Zhao must relinquish his current Canadian passport to a third-party custodian, designated and supervised by his legal counsel.
  • All current and expired passports and travel documents must be surrendered to Zhao’s legal representatives, with authorization required for their return.
  • Any application for new passports or travel documents necessitates prior approval from the court.

SEC Accusations and Zhao’s Legal Journey

The backdrop to this legal saga stems from accusations leveled by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Zhao and Binance. In November 2023, the SEC accused Zhao of money laundering, unlicensed money transmission, and violations in Seattle. Furthermore, Binance faced allegations of facilitating the trading of crypto tokens deemed as securities by the SEC.

Guilty Plea and Pending Sentencing

In response to the SEC’s charges, Zhao pleaded guilty on November 1, 2023, with Binance consenting to pay hefty fines and penalties totaling over $4 billion. Following his resignation as Binance’s CEO in November last year, Zhao awaits sentencing, scheduled for April 30, 2024.

Zhao’s Defense and Argument

Confronted with the revised bond conditions, Zhao’s legal team contended that the imposed restrictions were unwarranted. They highlighted that Zhao’s travel history had not posed any concerns thus far.

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