Legal Shifts: Binance Founder CZ's Bail Conditions Updated and Passport Surrendered

Legal Shifts: Binance Founder CZ's Bail Conditions Updated and Passport Surrendered
Photo by Giammarco Boscaro / Unsplash

In a significant legal development, the U.S. District Court has mandated Changpeng Zhao, widely known as CZ, to relinquish his Canadian passport. This directive is a part of altered bail conditions for the cryptocurrency exchange Binance's founder, aiming to satisfy a request from the Department of Justice, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

CZ is to entrust his identification to a trusted individual, appointed by his legal team. This appointed person will accompany the former Binance CEO on any travels requiring a passport. The adjustment came after Judge Richard A. Jones had previously barred the entrepreneur from leaving the U.S. until a verdict in his case was reached. In November 2023, CZ admitted to violating the Bank Secrecy Act and agreed to pay a fine. Subsequently, Zhao was released on a $175 million bail.

The court's recent order extends to all current and expired passports held by CZ. He is compelled to hand over these documents to a trusted person hired by his lawyers, who will then accompany Zhao on all trips where a passport might be necessary. Additionally, Changpeng Zhao is prohibited from obtaining new documents without court approval and is required to notify relevant authorities of his movements.

This update follows a postponement in the sentencing date for CZ's case to April 30, 2024. The sentencing hearing was initially scheduled for the end of the previous month but was delayed for unspecified reasons. Zhao's attorneys have declined to comment on the matter.

Zhao faces up to 18 months in prison. John Reed Stark, a former employee of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, suggests that the Department of Justice may advocate for a harsher penalty. It's worth recalling that Changpeng Zhao had attempted to leave the U.S. by posting Binance.US shares as bail, highlighting the complexities surrounding his legal challenges.