Court appearance for former head of FTX, who pleads not guilty to five additional charges from US federal prosecutors
Former crypto multi-billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried has responded to the latest set of charges levelled against him by US federal prosecutors.
CNBC reported that on Thursday Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty in New York federal court to five additional charges related to the collapse of his former crypto exchange FTX and hedge fund Alameda Research.
And furthermore, Bankman-Fried’s attorney, Mark Cohen, reportedly said he plans to file a motion that his client not be tried on all the counts, arguing that he cannot be tried on charges brought after his extradition.
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.
Then this week US prosecutors slapped him another yet another charge, alleging that Bankman-Fried paid out at least $40 million of bribes to at least one Chinese government official “in order to influence and induce them to unfreeze” trading accounts tied to his crypto hedge fund, Alameda Research, which contained around $1 billion worth of cryptocurrency.
Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund then allegedly used the unfrozen assets to continue to fund Alameda’s loss-generating trades, continuing on what the government alleges was a fraud upon customers and investors for another year.
CNBC reported that Bankman-Fried arrived at the courthouse about an hour before the hearing, looking dishevelled after an intense media scrum outside the courtroom.
Bankman-Fried reportedly did not speak during the entirety of the hearing, but he pleaded not guilty to the five additional charges.
In total, Bankman-Fried now faces a total of 13 criminal charges, and if found guilty, could be sentenced to over 115 years in prison.
Earlier this month the legal team of Sam Bankman-Fried suggested they may seek to delay his trial – slated for 2 October 2023.
Billion dollar payouts?
The new management of FTX also recently 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