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Binance says decision to pull Abu Dhabi licensing bid unrelated to US settlement

Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, who pleaded guilty to one felony count in the U.S. in November, may not be able to return to the UAE before being sentenced.



Source: Cointelegraph

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance’s unit in Abu Dhabi has pulled an application with the Emirate’s financial regulator, a move it claims was unrelated to the firm’s November settlement with authorities in the United States.

In a statement to Cointelegraph on Dec. 7, a Binance spokesperson said the exchange had chosen not to move forward with an application with Abu Dhabi’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority following an assessment of its “global licensing needs.” The agreement, withdrawn by BV Investment Management in November, would have allowed Binance to manage a collective investment fund.

The spokesperson said Binance’s decision was “unrelated” to a $4.3-billion settlement with U.S. authorities, in which Changpeng “CZ” Zhao pleaded guilty to one felony charge and stepped down as CEO. Binance’s former head of regional markets, Richard Teng, succeeded CZ and told Cointelegraph the exchange was “totally different” following the deal.

According to its website, Binance Limited still has permission to conduct financial services related to crypto custody in the Abu Dhabi Global Market. The spokesperson said Binance planned to continue working with global regulators as part of its expansion, including in Dubai and other countries.

On Nov. 21, U.S. officials announced they had reached an agreement with Binance and CZ, requiring them to pay $4.3 billion in penalties. Zhao pleaded guilty to one felony count for failure to maintain an effective Anti-Money Laundering program at Binance, violating the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act.

At the time of publication, Zhao was free on bail in the U.S., while a court considered a motion allowing the former CEO to return to his family in the United Arab Emirates. He could face up to 18 months in prison at his February sentencing.

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