Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, has been released on a $250 million bond
while awaiting trial.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan approved the personal recognizance bond – a written commitment from the accused to appear in court when ordered. Gorenstein set Bankman-Fried's next court appearance on Jan. 3, 2023 to enter his plea before U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams and be arraigned. Prosecutors and Bankman-Fried's defense team agreed to the terms of the bond.
In return, Bankman-Fried's camp would not be required to meet the full collateral requirements on the bail bond. It was secured by equity in his family home, alongside the signatures of his parents and two other individuals with "considerable" assets.
Part of the bond's terms include Bankman-Fried being required to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet, staying at his parents' home in California under "strict" supervision, submitting to mental health counseling and restricting himself to travel within and between the Northern District of California and the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.
Moreover, the former FTX CEO is prohibited from opening any new lines of credit above $1,000. According to Bankman-Fried himself, he only has a measly $100,000 to his name following the FTX fiasco.
During the Dec. 22 hearing, Bankman-Fried only spoke when the judge asked if he understood the consequences of breaking his bail agreement. "Yes, I do," he told the judge.
Bankman-Fried was charged with eight counts, including securities fraud and money laundering
. He was extradited from the Bahamas, where he and his associates ran FTX, to New York. According to federal prosecutors, Bankman-Fried used customer funds to purchase properties, fund political donations and prop up bad deals at his hedge fund Alameda Research.
Two of Bankman-Fried's lieutenants plead guilty
A day before Bankman-Fried appeared in court, two of his top associates pleaded guilty
to related fraud charges.
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams confirmed the pleas by FTX co-founder Gary Wang and Caroline Ellison, former CEO of Alameda Research.
Wang pleaded guilty to four counts – wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit commodities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Ellison, meanwhile, pleaded guilty to seven counts – two counts of wire fraud, two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit commodities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
"As I said last week, this investigation is very much ongoing," Williams said in a pre-recorded message on social media. The federal attorney did not offer specific details on charges against either Ellison or Wang.
A complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC) accused both Ellison and Wang, in their respective roles at Alameda and FTX, of abetting Bankman-Fried in defrauding customers of the crypto exchange. In particular, the regulator alleged that Wang created a software backdoor in FTX's platform that allowed Ellison to divert customer funds.
"Bankman-Fried and Wang thus gave Alameda [Research] and Ellison carte blanche to use FTX customer funds for Alameda's trading operations and for whatever other purposes Bankman-Fried and Ellison saw fit," the SEC's complaint stated. (Related: A smoldering fuse.
In a separate statement, the SEC said Wang and Ellison had also accepted "bifurcated settlements" in connection with the charges, adding that both are cooperating with federal authorities.
Wang's attorney said in a statement that his client "has accepted responsibility for his actions and takes seriously his obligations as a cooperating witness." Lawyers for Ellison and Bankman-Fried, meanwhile, made no comment.
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report about the arrest of Sam Bankman-Fried in the Bahamas
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