Get 40% Off
🚀 Our AI Picked 6 Stocks that Jumped +25% in Q1. Which Picks Will Soar in Q2?Unlock full list

FTX founder Bankman-Fried objects to tighter bail, says prosecutors 'sandbagged' him

Published 01/28/2023, 10:37 AM
Updated 01/28/2023, 03:22 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former FTX Chief Executive Sam Bankman-Fried, who faces fraud charges over the collapse of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange, leaves on the day of a hearing at Manhattan federal court in New York City, U.S. January 3, 2023. REUTERS/Eduardo

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Lawyers for Sam Bankman-Fried on Saturday urged a U.S. judge not to ban the indicted FTX cryptocurrency executive from communicating with former colleagues as part of his bail, saying prosecutors "sandbagged" the process to put their client in the "worst possible light."

The lawyers were responding to a Friday night request by federal prosecutors that Bankman-Fried not be allowed to talk with most employees of FTX or his Alameda Research hedge fund without lawyers present, or use the encrypted messaging apps Signal or Slack and potentially delete messages automatically.

Bankman-Fried, 30, has been free on $250 million bond since pleading not guilty to charges of fraud in the looting of billions of dollars from the now-bankrupt FTX.

Prosecutors said their request was in response to Bankman-Fried's recent effort to contact a potential witness against him, the general counsel of an FTX affiliate, and was needed to prevent witness tampering and other obstruction of justice.

But in a letter to U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan, Bankman-Fried's lawyers said prosecutors sprung the "overbroad" bail conditions without revealing that both sides had been discussing bail over the last week.

"Rather than wait for any response from the defense, the government sandbagged the process, filing this letter at 6:00 p.m. on Friday evening," Bankman-Fried's lawyers wrote. "The government apparently believes that a one-sided presentation - spun to put our client in the worst possible light - is the best way to get the outcome it seeks."

Bankman-Fried's lawyers also said their client's efforts to contact the general counsel and John Ray, installed as FTX's chief executive during the bankruptcy, were attempts to offer "assistance" and not to interfere.

A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Damian Williams in Manhattan declined to comment.

Bankman-Fried's lawyers proposed that their client have access to some colleagues, including his therapist, but not be allowed to talk with Caroline Ellison and Zixiao "Gary" Wang, who have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with prosecutors.

They said a Signal ban isn't necessary because Bankman-Fried is not using the auto-delete feature, and concern he might is "unfounded."

The lawyers also asked to remove a bail condition preventing Bankman-Fried from accessing FTX, Alameda or cryptocurrency assets, saying there was "no evidence" he was responsible for earlier alleged unauthorized transactions.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former FTX chief executive Sam Bankman-Fried, who faces fraud charges over the collapse of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange, walks from the Manhattan federal court after securing bail in New York City, U.S. December 22, 2022.  REUTERS/Jeenah Moon/File Photo

In an order on Saturday, Kaplan gave prosecutors until Monday to address Bankman-Fried's concerns.

"The court expects all counsel to abstain from pejorative characterizations of the actions and motives of their adversaries," the judge added.

Latest comments

only right that he gets sandbagged after sandbagging millions. can't wait to read the guilty verdict in 2 years
sandbagged outside, teabagged inside. poor sbf..
Yeah but what about the debt ceiling?
idiwiuue
oh poor baby.
I want to see a list of the fifty largest creditors. Is that published anywhere?
Lets not forget financier to Dem Party..father direct ties to Sen. Warren
SBF is a proven liar and deceiver so he is not to be believed when he claims he can be trusted in any way. The judge is right to restrict his access.
true, but they're not on trial right now...so SBF somehow deserves a pass? or the judge us too strict?
it's a Ponzi scheme, what other possible light would he want to portrayed in, he's a con man
SBF is this dense? His lawyer should be advising him to clam up and not talk to anyone, especially former FTX and Alameda employees. Fora boy genius he’s proving to be as smart as a fence post!
He shouldn't have contact with other possible criminals. He could be trying to help them!!! Toss the key...
odd dude
Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
© 2007-2024 - Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.