On Friday, Federal prosecutors delivered a petition to the court seeking to cancel the over $200 million bond that was granted to the founder of fallen crypto exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried. The authorities allege that Bankman-Fried recently attempted to tamper with key witnesses of his ongoing case.
In their letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan, Federal prosecutors claimed that the fallen billionaire had leaked personal diary entries of Caroline Ellison, who served as Alameda Research CEO, to news outlet New York Times. The officials say Bankman-Fried aimed at portraying Ellison in an “inculpatory light.” The former Alameda Research boss is among the witnesses set to testify against Bankman-Fried.
The Federal prosecutors’ letter was approved by US Attorney Damian Williams, along with five assistant US Attorneys, including Daniele Sassoon, who had asked the court to revoke Bankman-Fried’s bail last Tuesday.
Authorities Level More Accusations Against SBF
Prosecutors told Judge Kaplan that this wasn’t the first time Bankman-Fried had tried influencing witnesses, pointing to an incident in January where the FTX ex-CEO contacted Ryne Miller, the general counsel of the exchange’s American entity FTX US, asking him if it was possible to meet up. Note that at the time, Bankman-Fried was not allowed to communicate with anyone.
The crypto mogul communicated with Miller using an encrypted messaging platform called Signal.
Prosecutors said they were convinced that Bankman-Fried would not abide by release conditions and that he posed a danger to the community.
Meanwhile, his lawyer Mark Cohen has rubbished the tempering allegations. He says he doesn’t see anything wrong with his client speaking to New York Times, arguing that he was only exercising his First Amendment right that allows him to engage with the media.
However, the prosecutors insist that Bankman-Fried leaked Ellison’s diaries with an aim to intimidate her ahead of his trial set to take part in October.
Judge Kaplan has yet to deliver his ruling in regard to Bankman-Fried’s bail revocation.
The FTX founder was subjected to house arrest at the start of the year after signing a record-breaking bond worth $250 million.
Bankman-Fried is currently facing a series of charges, including securities fraud, wire fraud, misappropriation of customer funds, and violation of campaign financing policies. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to prison for 115 years.
Another reason that prosecutors want Bankman-Fried bail recalled is that they consider him a flight risk due to his foreign ties. However, his lawyer insists he wants to stay in the United States to defend himself.
Further, Cohen says he will respond to the prosecutors’ allegations soon and explain the “truth” behind his client’s communication with the media to the court. The lawyer is expected to submit an opposition brief before Judge Kaplan delivers his ruling.
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