According to CNBC, FTX founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (aka SBF) pled not guilty to five more criminal counts this morning.
Authorities charge the former crypto executive with fraud and bribery for allegedly plotting to pay at least $40 million to Chinese government officials in order for them to unfreeze more than $1 billion in cryptocurrencies, which he reportedly used to fund loss-generating trades.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) announced a superseding indictment against SBF on Tuesday; SBF has now pled not guilty to all 13 charges.
He is also facing civil accusations from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) (CFTC). His attorney, Mark Cohen, stated that he would file a motion to prevent SBF from being tried on allegations stemming from his extradition from the Bahamas in December.
According to federal authorities, SBF and his associates attempted “various” legal and personal measures to unfreeze the cash before proceeding with the bribe. According to them, SBF instructed Alameda Research, FTX’s sibling business, to move more than $40 million to a secret wallet.
Of course, bribing foreign officials to generate business is unlawful for US citizens. The fresh charges increase the pressure on Bankman-Fried, 31, who reportedly “arrived at the courthouse about an hour before the hearing, looking dishevelled after an intense media scrum.”
Caroline Ellison, Zixiao “Gary” Wang, and Nishad Singh, three former FTX executives, have pled guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges and agreed to collaborate with the prosecution. There has been no indication of whether SBF will be obliged to use a feature phone and limit his internet access as part of his bail terms.
District Judge Lewis Kaplan earlier stated that he did not want SBF “loose on his garden of electronic gadgets” when it was uncovered that he was using a virtual private network (VPN) and perhaps interfering with witnesses.