FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried tried to bribe Chinese officials, prosecutors say

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Federal prosecutors have brought a 13th criminal charge against Sam Bankman-Fried, accusing the FTX co-founder of bribing “one or more” Chinese government officials with $40 million worth of cryptocurrency.

In the indictment, prosecutors allege that Bankman-Fried sought to pay Chinese officials in an effort to unfreeze accounts belonging to his hedge fund, Alameda Research. The accounts, which the Chinese government had frozen, held more than $1 billion in digital assets, prosecutors said.

The accounts were released after payment was transferred from Alameda’s main trading account to a private cryptocurrency wallet, according to the indictment.

The new indictment was released Tuesday by the court for the Southern District of New York. Bankman-Fried, who has a bond of $250 million, has already pleaded not guilty to eight counts of fraud and conspiracy, and has yet to face trial on five others.

A bail hearing was scheduled for Thursday at 11 a.m. ET.

A Bankman-Fried spokesperson declined to comment.

Also on Tuesday, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan approved new bail conditions for Bankman-Fried that will significantly restrict his internet access following concerns about his past use of messaging apps and a private network. virtual.

Under the new terms, Bankman-Fried will have access to two electronic devices — a closely guarded laptop and a phone that can only be used for voice calls and texts. He is “otherwise prohibited from using other mobile phones, tablets, computers, video games (including video game platforms and hardware) that enable chat or voice communication, or “smart” devices. with internet access,” Kaplan wrote.

The laptop is largely under the control of its legal team, and Bankman-Fried will be limited to a handful of news websites and services such as Netflix, Doordash and Gmail.

Bankman-Fried will be allowed to use a VPN only for the purpose of accessing a database to help prepare its defense. When using the VPN, lawyers will need to send someone from their firm to oversee it. This person “will stay with Mr. Bankman-Fried while he uses the laptop, pick up the laptop, and remove it from the residence when he is finished,” Kaplan wrote.

The charges against Bankman-Fried stem from what prosecutors have called one of the biggest financial frauds in US history. They say Bankman-Fried orchestrated a massive scheme, stealing deposits from his FTX cryptocurrency exchange, to fund risky bets on his hedge fund, funnel contributions to US politicians and secure a luxury lifestyle for him. and its employees in the Bahamas.

FTX was one of the hottest and most important platforms for trading digital assets before it descended into bankruptcy in November.

Bankman-Fried, 31, has previously admitted mishandling his business, but denied committing fraud.

Three of Bankman-Fried’s former business associates – Gary Wang, Caroline Ellison and Nishad Singh – have pleaded guilty to numerous charges and are cooperating with investigators.

If found guilty on all counts, he faces more than 155 years in prison. A trial is scheduled for October.

Bankman-Fried is under house arrest at his parents’ home in Palo Alto, Calif., where his movement is heavily restricted.

– CNN’s Kara Scannell contributed reporting.


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