Sam Bankman-Fried, the creator of the defunct FTX cryptocurrency exchange, is now accused of bribery. In a Tuesday indictment, the Department of Justice said that Bankman-Fried “authorized and directed a bribe of at least $40 million to one or more Chinese government officials.”
According to reports, the payment was an effort to persuade Chinese authorities to unfreeze some of the accounts linked to FTX’s sister business, Alameda, which had more than $1 billion in cryptocurrencies. All of this, according to the DOJ, took place in November 2021, when Bankman-Fried sought access to the money so that she could help Alameda “in securing and keeping business.” Before allegedly turning to a bribe that led to the monies being opened, the indictment claims Bankman-Fried tried “several measures” to unlock the funds.
According to the indictment, Bankman-Fried allowed the transfer of further tens of millions of dollars in bitcoin to complete the bribe “after confirmation that the Accounts were unfrozen.” “Alameda funded increased Alameda trade activity using the unfrozen coin.”
The crypto founder’s new bail terms forbid Bankman-Fried from using a smartphone in addition to this most recent accusation of bribery. His new non-smartphone won’t have internet or Signal connectivity, which Bankman-Fried is accused of using to get in touch with his coworkers while out on bail. Also, Bankman-Fried must return his current laptop, which “will be modified to enable access” only to predetermined websites like YouTube, Wikipedia, and Netflix. This means League of Legends will no longer be available.
Bankman-Fried was detained and accused of fraud and money laundering in December. Federal prosecutors filed four new accusations against Bankman-Fried in February, including updated campaign financing allegations and new counts of bank fraud and money laundering, even though he had already been freed on a $250 million bond.
Bankman-Fried was a major player on Capitol Hill before FTX’s demise and contributed to the creation of the first comprehensive crypto sector regulation legislation.