Sam Bankman-Fried Charged With Bribing Chinese Officials

Sam Bankman-Fried. Image credit: FTX

New US indictment alleges FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried paid over $40 million to bribe at least one official in China

Former crypto multi-billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried has been slapped with even more charges by US prosecutors.

CNBC reported that US federal prosecutors in a new indictment on Tuesday have alleged that Sam Bankman-Fried paid out millions of dollars worth of bribes to at least one Chinese government official.

The indictment allege that accounts belonging to Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund, Alameda Research, were the target of a freezing order from Chinese police “in or around” November 2021.

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Chinese bribe?

The indictment also alleges that Bankman-Fried and others “directed and caused the transfer” of at least $40 million in cryptocurrency “intended for the benefit of one or more Chinese government officials in order to influence and induce them” to unfreeze some of these accounts.

Bankman-Fried and his associates considered and tried “numerous methods” to unfreeze the accounts, which contained around $1 billion worth of cryptocurrency, prosecutors allege.

Ultimately, after both legal and personal efforts failed, Bankman-Fried agreed to and directed a multimillion-dollar bribe to have the frozen accounts unlocked, prosecutors alleged.

CNBC reported that Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund used the unfrozen assets to continue to fund Alameda’s loss-generating trades, continuing on what the government says was a fraud upon customers and investors for another year.

Bankman-Fried has been under house arrest with a $250 million bond, since he pleaded not guilty to eight federal fraud and conspiracy charges over his role in the collapse of the FTX crypto exchange, when a multi-billion dollar hole was found in its balance sheet.

Last month federal authorities levelled four more criminal charges against Bankman-Fried, alleging he facilitated hundreds of illegal political donations totalling tens of millions of dollars.

In total, Bankman-Fried now faces a total of 12 criminal charges, and if found guilty, could be sentenced to over 115 years in prison.

The fresh charges indicate that new evidence has been obtained by the federal government about Bankman-Fried’s international dealings.

A spokesperson for Bankman-Fried did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Billion dollar payouts?

Earlier this month the new management of FTX alleged in court filings that Sam Bankman-Fried and five of his inner circle (including company founders and key staff) transferred a total of $3.2bn into their personal accounts via “payments and loans”.

Indeed, the filings allege that personal accounts belonging to Sam Bankman-Fried received $2.2bn, made chiefly from the Alameda Research hedge fund.

The alleged payments were as follows:

  • $2.2 billion to Sam Bankman-Fried;
  • $587 million to Nishad Singh;
  • $246 million to Zixiao “Gary” Wang;
  • $87 million to Ryan Salame;
  • $25 million to John Samuel Trabucco;
  • $6 million to Caroline Ellison

Gary Wang, Caroline Ellison and recently Nishad Singh have pleaded guilty, and are co-operating with US prosecutors.