Entrepreneur-turned-criminal Sam Bankman-Fried, who is currently facing a dozen charges, is now looking at even more trouble as prosecutors level another serious claim: That Bankman-Fried tried to bribe Chinese officials.
The indictment alleges that the FTX founder also conspired with prosecutors to bribe one of the Chinese government officials to regain Alameda trading account access that had been blocked by Chinese law enforcement authorities.”
According to the indictment, the accounts were released after payment was made from Alameda’s main trading account to a private crypto wallet.
On Tuesday, the Southern District Court of New York released the new indictment. The bondholder, Bankman-Fried with a $250 million bond has already pleaded guilty to eight counts of fraud and conspiracy and has not yet been charged on five other charges.
CNN reported that Judge Lewis A. Kaplan also approved new bail conditions for Bankman Fried. These will restrict Bankman-Fried’s internet access due to concerns over his use of messaging apps, and a virtual private net. The new bail conditions will allow Bankman-Fried to access a laptop and a phone that will be closely monitored by federal authorities.
According to Kaplan’s ruling he is “otherwise prohibited” from using any other cellphones or tablets, computers or videogames (including hardware and videogame platforms) that allow chat or voice communication or’smart devices’ with Internet access. However, he will have access Netflix and Gmail as well as other basic services.
Sam Bankman-Fried was initially arrested by the feds following “receipts of formal notification from USA that it has filed criminal cases against SBF and is likely requesting his extradition,” according preliminary court filings.
Although FTX was a cryptocurrency exchange company, the money deposited there was used by Alameda to support his risky financial investments in Alameda’s hedge fund. Prosecutors allege that he also used FTX deposits to make large contributions to American politicians, and to live in the Bahamas. The troubled entrepreneur took a media tour after the collapse of the crypto exchange. He simultaneously apologized and denied any responsibility for FTX’s failure and the fraud that was revealed.
If he is convicted of all charges, Bankman-Fried could be in prison for up to 155 years. Gary Wang, Caroline Ellison and Nishad Sing, his business partners, have already pleaded guilty to various charges and are cooperating with investigators.
Many have called for politicians to return the money that Bankman-Fried donated to them or to donate it to charity. While some have promised to do so, others remain silent, raising more questions about money’s influence on politics. The bribe charges that were detailed Tuesday suggest that if he was willing and able to bribe Chinese officials he might have tried similar with American officials, some worry.