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Judge notes CZ’s ‘enormous wealth’ in ruling Binance founder must stay in US

Judge notes CZ’s ‘enormous wealth’ in ruling Binance founder must stay in US
Changpeng Zhao to spend more time in US. Credit: Rita Fortunato/DL News

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Changpeng Zhao cannot leave the US before his criminal sentencing in February, responses to North Korean crypto thefts and WMD programs are discussed, Robinhood launches EU crypto trading and Swan expands. Read on!

Binance founder Zhao deemed flight risk

Billionaire Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s founder and former CEO, cannot return to his home in the United Arab Emirates before his February 23 criminal sentencing, a federal judge ruled, citing Zhao’s wealth, lack of a UAE extradition treaty, and his tenuous ties to the US.

Zhao faces 18 months in jail, though he has requested a lighter sentence. After pleading guilty last month to violating money-laundering rules, Zhao was released on a $175 million bond agreement that would have allowed him to return to the UAE, but prosecutors argued he was a flight risk.

District Judge Richard Jones of the Western District of Washington agreed, writing that “a critical feature of the government’s motion is the extent of the defendant’s enormous wealth and absence of an extradition treaty with the UAE. In addition, the defendant’s family resides in the UAE and there is no indication he has any other ties to the United States.”

North Korean crypto crime discussed

US, Japanese, and South Korean security officials met in Seoul to discuss collective responses to North Korea’s use of stolen crypto to fund its weapons of mass destruction programs, including nuclear and ballistic missile development, according to a White House statement.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Japan National Security Adviser Takeo Akiba, and Republic of Korea National Security Adviser Cho Tae-Yong also discussed the partnership between North Korea and Russia amid other issues.

A recent report by Recorded Future said that North Korea has stolen about $3 billion in cryptocurrency since 2017, more than half of it in the past year.

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Robinhood launches EU crypto trading

Robinhood Markets has launched crypto trading in the EU, as the US company looks to expand into international markets with greater regulatory coherence, CNBC reported.

“The EU has developed one of the world’s most comprehensive policies for crypto asset regulation, which is why we chose the region to anchor Robinhood Crypto’s international expansion plans,” the report cited Johann Kerbrat, general manager for Robinhood Crypto, as saying.

Swan deploys $200m in expansion

Swan, a Bitcoin-only financial firm, allocated more than $200 million this year to expand into institutional Bitcoin-backed lending, as well as venture and private equity investments, a hedge fund, and a credit fund, Fortune reported.

Cory Klippsten founded Swan in 2019, offering asset management services that included buying, selling and custody of crypto. He told Fortune that Swan plans to raise $150 million next year to fund further expansion.

Swiss city accepts Bitcoin, Tether

The Swiss city of Lugano said it will accept Bitcoin and Tether for payment of tax invoices and other community fees through an automated process utilising the financial services of Bitcoin Suisse.

The move is part of Lugano’s Plan B, a collaborative effort with Tether to use Bitcoin and blockchain technology to transform the city’s financial system.

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