Federal Prosecutors Charge Sam Bankman-Fried With Attempt To Bribe Chinese Officials With $40 Million
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In a new indictment unsealed on Tuesday, officials charged Sam-Bankman Fried with bribing Chinese officials to release frozen assets.
Federal prosecutors have accused Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), former CEO of failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, of attempting to bribe “one or more” Chinese government officials with $40 million, the goal being to release $1 billion worth of frozen digital assets belonging to his hedge fund, Alameda Research.
Bankman-Fried is already facing eight criminal counts of fraud and conspiracy and has not yet been arraigned on five others. He could face more than 155 years in prison if convicted on all counts — the trial has been scheduled for October.
The new indictment against Bankman-Fried, unsealed by the Southern District Court of New York on Tuesday, alleges that Bankman-Fried devised fraudulent schemes to steal deposits from FTX with the aim of financing risky bets at Alameda Research. In addition, SBF contributed to American politicians without proper documentation, all while living in the Bahamas. FTX’s collapse and subsequent bankruptcy left the industry reeling, as it was once one of the largest and most trusted exchanges.
SBF remains under house arrest at his parents’ home in Palo Alto, California, with restricted movements. Three of his former business partners, including FTX co-founder Gary Wang and Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, have already pleaded guilty to their respective charges.
On Tuesday, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan approved a modification to Bankman-Fried’s bail terms to limit his access to the internet. This move followed concerns about his use of a virtual private network, which masks the location of an internet connection. Bankman-Fried will be allowed to use a VPN only to access a database to help prepare his defense, via a laptop provided by his lawyers according to the modification.