Federal prosecutors in Manhattan said Friday that a disgraced cryptocurrency executive Sam Bankman-Fried He tried to contact potential witnesses in his criminal case, but they asked the judge to force them. new bail conditions Limit your ability to communicate with former colleagues.
In a court filing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said Bankman-Fried sent an encrypted email to general counsel for the U.S. division of FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange he founded earlier this month. He said he sent a message via the messaging app Signal. Bankman-Fried, 30, has been charged with fraud, money laundering and campaign finance violations. FTX Implosion last year.
The correspondence “suggests an attempt to influence Witness-1’s potential testimony,” the filing said. It is particularly concerning given the defendant’s knowledge that he has the information.”
Prosecutors asked Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who is overseeing Bankman-Fried’s case, to accuse the entrepreneur of contacting current and former FTX employees or using Signal or other encrypted apps. I asked them to stop communicating with me.
A Bankman-Fried spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bankman-Fried built FTX into one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges before filing for bankruptcy in November. He was arrested in December at his home in the Bahamas, home of his FTX, and extradited to the US to face criminal charges. Judge Kaplan granted him bail under very restrictive conditions, confining him to his parents’ home near the campus of Stanford University in Northern California.
What You Need to Know About the FTX Collapse
What is FTX? FTX is now a bankrupt company One of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchangesThis allowed customers to exchange their digital currency for other digital currencies or traditional currencies. There was also a native cryptocurrency known as FTT. The Bahamas-based company has built its business on risky trading options that are not legal in the United States.
Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
From house arrest, Bankman-Fried has entertained visitors, including author Michael Lewis, who has written a book about him. He also launched his defense, writing a post on Substack detailing his version of the events leading up to FTX’s demise.
According to Friday’s filing, Bankman-Fried sent a letter to FTX US general counsel on Jan. 15 asking, “Is there a way we can reconnect, build constructive relationships, and use each other as resources? I want to see what’s going on,” he said. If possible, or at least take things out with each other. “
Prosecutors said the witnesses “had first-hand knowledge of the defendant’s actions during the conspiracy that was indicted,” and participated in communications with a small group of insiders on Signal and messaging system Slack the month FTX collapsed. Bankman-Fried has also reached out to other current and former FTX employees, according to the filing.
The document does not identify witnesses by name. FTX US General Counsel line mirroraccording to his LinkedIn page.
For most of his tenure at FTX, Bankman-Fried relied on Signal, which gave him the option to automatically delete messages. According to prosecutors, he also directed FTX employees, Alameda Researcha hedge fund he founded that set communications to automatically disappear within 30 days.
Aftermath of FTX’s Downfall
The November crash of cryptocurrency exchanges took the industry by surprise.
“FTX and Alameda’s automated takedown of Slack and Signal communications hampered a government investigation,” the filing said. “Potential witnesses describe relevant incriminating conversations with defendants that took place on Slack and Signal, which have already been auto-deleted.”
In court filings, prosecutors will attempt to determine whether Bankman-Fried’s use of signals led him to attempt to contact further potential witnesses during his confinement. He said it could interfere.
“The combination of proposed bail conditions would more effectively prevent defendants from obstructing justice,” Filing said.