FTX founder charged with paying bribe to China
new york –
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried ordered one or more Chinese officials to unfreeze assets related to his cryptocurrency business in a newly rewritten indictment sealed Tuesday. He was charged with directing a bribe of US$40 million.
The number of charges Bankman-Fried faces after he was arrested in the Bahamas in December and brought to the United States shortly thereafter violates the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. 13 charges of conspiracy. The indictment was returned on Monday.
FTX filed for bankruptcy on November 11th. At this time, the cryptocurrency ran out of money equivalent to a bank run. He keeps his freedom with his US$250 million privately-approved bond that allows him to live with his parents in Palo Alto, California.
He has pleaded not guilty to charges of defrauding investors of billions of dollars before the business collapsed.
An arraignment on the rewritten charges was set Thursday by U.S. District Judge Louis A. Kaplan. Bankman-Fried also communicated with current or former employees of FTX, the global cryptocurrency exchange he founded, or Alameda Research, a cryptocurrency hedge fund trading firm affiliated with FTX. prohibited. The order also limits Bankman-Fried to his one laptop and phone, and bans him from any other cell phone, computer, or “smart” device with internet access.
The alleged bribery was attributed to the operations of Alameda Research. According to the indictment, Chinese law enforcement officials froze certain of his Alameda cryptocurrency trading accounts on two of China’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges in early 2021. The accounts reportedly contained about $1 billion in cryptocurrency.
Bankman-Fried, 31, was aware that accounts were frozen by Chinese authorities as part of an ongoing investigation into certain Alameda counterparties, the indictment said.
After months of unsuccessful attempts to unfreeze accounts using lawyers and lobbying, Bankman-Fried finally paid millions of dollars to unfreeze accounts agreed to do so, the indictment states.
In a failed attempt, the indictment alleges that Bankman-Fried and others he commanded used the personally identifiable information of several individuals unaffiliated with FTX or Alameda to create new accounts on Chinese exchanges. It said it attempted to open a fraudulent account, evade a freeze order, and transfer cryptocurrency from a frozen account to a fraudulent account.
The account, which was moved from Alameda’s primary trading account to a private cryptocurrency wallet in November 2021 and frozen, was unfrozen at about the same time, the indictment says.
After receiving confirmation that the accounts were not frozen, Bankman-Fried authorized the transfer of tens of millions of dollars more in cryptocurrency to complete the bribe, according to the indictment.
Lawyers for Bankman-Fried did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment. A message seeking comment was also sent to the Chinese consulate in New York and the Chinese embassy in Washington, DC.