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Former boss of crypto platform Finance not allowed to leave US

Former boss of crypto platform Finance not allowed to leave US

The founder and former boss of cryptocurrency platform Binance, Changpeng Zhao, is currently not allowed to leave the US due to money laundering charges against the company. A Seattle judge ruled Monday that Zhao, a Canadian citizen, is temporarily barred from traveling to the United Arab Emirates, where he lives. He pleaded guilty last week as part of a plea deal.

According to the US Department of Justice, Binance violated anti-money laundering and sanctions laws and did not properly register as a money exchange service provider. So the company had to pay more than 4 billion dollars (3.65 billion euros) in fines. Zhao pleaded guilty to failing to develop an anti-money laundering program. “I made mistakes and have to take responsibility for them,” he wrote on the texting service X.

The 46-year-old is expected to spend several years in prison. A verdict is expected by the end of February, according to media reports. It’s still unclear whether he will stay in the U.S. until then: Seattle’s decision on Monday is tentative.

Zhao — also known by his acronym CZ — founded Binance in China in 2017 and has since grown it into the world’s largest cryptocurrency platform. The Chinese-born businessman became a millionaire and was seen as a major opponent of Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the FTX platform, which went bankrupt a year ago, and was recently found guilty of fraud in the US.

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