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Chief Executive Officer of Binance, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, has shared a report in which the exchange intervened in the theft of millions of dollars worth of crypto assets. Through a fast response operation, the Binance Global Head stated they were able to prevent the bad actors from making away with over 90% of the stolen loot.

Binance Confiscates $11.8 Million In Assets Belonging To Kidnapped Clients

In a Friday post on X, CZ stated that executives from one of Binance’s client companies were deceived into going on a business trip to Montenegro, during which they were kidnapped and forced to forfeit all assets in their crypto wallets.

Executives from a client were lured on a ‘business trip’ to Montenegro, where they were abducted and forced to empty their wallets. Total loss ~$12.5m.

We investigated the on chain activities and reached out to our partners earlier today to have the wallet frozen, as all of the…

— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) November 10, 2023

In total, the Binance CEO stated that the bad actors were able to obtain approximately $12.5 million dollars worth of digital assets from their victims, which were all converted to USDT and moved to a TRON wallet. 

However, Binance was able to quickly intervene in the matter, alerting their partners to the situation, who were then able to freeze the wallet. In doing so, Binance foiled the kidnapper’s access to $11.8 million of the $12.5 million loot.

The incident recounted by CZ is not a new occurrence in the crypto space, as sometimes bad actors resort to such brazen methods to steal crypto assets from investors.

In 2020, Le Duc Nguyen, a Vietnamese investor, was kidnapped and robbed of about VND 35 billion ($1.5 million) worth of crypto assets by another Vietnamese man named Ho Ngoc Tai with the help of 15 gang members.

Tai claimed that he lost 1,000 Bitcoins valued at VND 100 billion by investing in other tokens based on financial advice. The crypto investor felt cheated and proceeded to obtain a “refund” via forceful means. 

Albeit, Tai and his hired hands were eventually apprehended by the police and faced trial in May 2023, during which 14 of the 16 culprits were given sentences ranging from 9 to 19 imprisonments.

CZ Faces Questions On Crypto’s Decentralization

Following Zhao’s account of the successful crypto asset recovery, some crypto enthusiasts raised concerns over Binance’s ability to freeze users’ assets at will, a feature synonymous with the fiat banking system.

I really condemn this loss and happy coz most of the money is safe but I have a question @cz_binance
In fiat banks, everyone say that those guys can freeze money at any time without any reason
How crypto is better if someone can still freeze our personal wallet??


— Crypto Eagles (@CryptoProject6) November 10, 2023

However, the Binance boss stated that crypto users have a choice to avoid such occurrences, as assets can only be frozen on centralized exchanges (CEX). Using other forms of storage, such as non-custodial wallets, users’ assets are bound to remain inaccessible to any third party.

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