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Sam Bankman-Fried – the former crypto executive behind popular digital currency trading platform FTX – has been charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by allegedly attempting to bribe officials from China.
Sam Bankman-Fried Is Facing New Charges
Prosecutors claim that Sam Bankman-Fried attempted to send money to Chinese officials so they would unfreeze roughly $1 billion under his name. The money is being held through his secondary company Alameda Research, a crypto trading hedge fund. With these new charges, Sam Bankman-Fried is now facing approximately 13 separate counts in court.
The indictment of the crypto executive reads as follows:
In or about 2021, Samuel Bankman-Fried, a/k/a/ SBF, the defendant, authorized and directed a bribe of at least $40 million to one or more Chinese government officials. The purpose of this bribe was to influence and induce one or more Chinese government officials to unfreeze certain Alameda trading accounts containing over $1 billion in cryptocurrency, which had been frozen by Chinese authorities. Bankman-Fried and others sought to regain access to the assets to fund additional Alameda trading activity, to assist Bankman-Fried and Alameda in obtaining and retaining business.
US attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams – who has a knack for showing up when crypto cases like these arise – also threw his two cents into the mix, claiming:
We are hard at work and will remain so until justice is done.
Court documents purport that the assets held within Alameda were frozen as part of an ongoing investigation into a particular “Alameda trading counterparty,” and that SBF and several of his constituents made various attempts to get the money unlocked for private use. Some of the methods utilized – according to the indictment – included retaining attorneys to advocate in the country for the funds to be unfrozen and communicating with Chinese exchanges.
Sam Bankman-Fried is alleged to have tried to have the money unfrozen for months, but with no success at first. The indictment further states:
As a result, in or about November 2021, Bankman-Fried caused a bribe payment of cryptocurrency then worth approximately $40 million to be transferred from Alameda’s main trading account to a private cryptocurrency wallet. At or around the time of the $40 million bribe payment, the accounts were unfrozen.
A Long History of Crime?
Sam Bankman-Fried is currently awaiting trial for fraud at his parents’ Northern California home after he was arrested in the Bahamas, where FTX was initially situated. It is reported that SBF utilized customer funds to pay off loans taken out by Alameda Research and to invest in luxury real estate for himself and his fellow exchange executives.
FTX initially collapsed and entered bankruptcy proceedings in November of last year after it was reported the company was enduring a harsh liquidity crunch.