Four new criminal charges leveled at FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried concerning illegal political donations and bank fraud
The number of legal charges against former crypto multi-billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried has been increased by US authorities.
Former CEO and co-founder of FTX, 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.
Now court documents unsealed on Thursday have alleged that he facilitated hundreds of illegal political donations totalling tens of millions of dollars.
US prosecutors alleged that Bankman-Fried conspired with two other former FTX executives to donate tens of millions of dollars to influence US politicians in order to pass laws favourable to the company.
It is alleged that over 300 illegal donations were made via straw donors, or with corporate funds, allowing Bankman-Fried to evade contribution limits, US prosecutors said.
The new indictment filed Wednesday alleged that Sam Bankman-Fried “used the FTX customer funds he misappropriated and caused to be misappropriated to, among other things, support the trading and operations of Alameda, fund acquisitions and venture investments, and finance in substantial part Bankman-Fried’s unlawful political influence campaign, which involved flooding the political system with tens of millions of dollars in illegal contributions to both Democrats and Republicans made in the names of others in order to obscure the true source of the money and evade federal election law.”
To avoid bias, Bankman-Fried is alleged to have told one executive to donate to left-leaning candidates and the other to Republicans.
Bankman-Fried was previously charged with eight counts of fraud, money laundering and other charges.
The new charges also include conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transfer business.
US prosecutors also allege that as FTX began unravelling, Bankman-Fried instructed staff and fellow executives to communicate via the secure messaging app Signal, with messages set to auto delete after a period of time.
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.
Earlier this month Bankman-Fried was ordered to return to a Manhattan courtroom this week, after it emerged he had used a virtual private network (VPN) whilst under strict house arrest.
Bankman-Fried said he used the VPN to watch the super bowl and other sporting events, but Judge Kaplan has now amended his bail conditions to include a ban on VPNs.