Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) is far from having problems. After the fraudulent bankruptcy of his cryptocurrency firm FTX in November, a US judge accused the former boss of the cryptocurrency exchange platform of paying at least $40 million in bribes to Chinese officials.
According to the published document services of Manhattan federal prosecutor Damian Williams; It all started when the accounts of FTX’s sister trading firm, Alameda Research, were frozen on several Chinese cryptocurrency exchanges. The freeze would have cost the US company a billion dollars and would have intervened in the framework of a 2021 investigation by the Chinese judiciary against a company operating on the same platforms. Alameda would thus be a collateral victim of the tightening of Chinese policy on cryptos that began two years ago. “Sam Bankman-Fried first tried to force his lawyers to release the funds through the courts. When this did not work, he ordered his staff to bribe representatives of the Chinese government to do things,” summarizes Stanislaus Barthelemy, a consultant at KPMG, a specialist in cryptocurrencies.
According to the indictment, the accounts were blocked the first time the wrongful payment was made. The former CEO allegedly allowed several million dollars in additional payments to complete the bribery, totaling $40 million.
Violation of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
Trouble is, Justice is now charging Sam Bankman-Fried with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a 1977 federal law that fights corruption by public officials abroad.
Based on the information, the Manhattan federal prosecutor’s office added the corruption charge — for which he faces up to 5 years in prison — as part of his trial to be opened in October. 2023. Sam Bankman-Fried will appear. before U.S. District Judge Louis Kaplan in Manhattan federal court this Thursday, March 30, for a new indictment.
Another allegation against the leaders of FTX
The charge is the only one the former president of FTX has already faced with twelve charges since his company’s bankruptcy. “This is in line with the level of fraud conducted by FTX. We are no longer beyond a fraud,” jokes Stanislaus Barthelemy.
Sam Bankman-Fried and other executives at FTX and Alameda Research had already been implicated in using FTX clients’ accounts to buy FTX, unbeknownst to them, to buy cryptocurrency created by FTX for the purpose of fueling Alameda’s speculative activities. The former multi-billionaire has been implicated for investing funds without authorization from FTX clients in real estate in the Bahamas. Finally, a Manhattan federal prosecutor accused him of making illegal donations to Democratic political figures, particularly Joe Biden, during his presidential campaign.
Also charged were two former FTX and Alameda executives, Gary Wang and Carolyn Ellison, who pleaded guilty to multiple charges and agreed to cooperate with U.S. authorities, unlike Sam Bankman-Fried, who denies the charges against him.
SBF faces life imprisonment
Extradited from the Bahamas to the United States in December, the FTX creator will stand trial in New York and plead not guilty, according to sources familiar with the matter. His fate depends on his strategy and defense. ” If he pleads guilty, he is in the logic of pure negotiation and can hope for a reduced sentence. If he pleads not guilty, he could spend the rest of his life behind bars, as he faces up to 115 years in prison. In fact, the counts are cumulative, and twelve counts are the largest “, explains Arnaud Touati, co-lawyer of Hashtag lawyers. Although the latter warns, “CIt’s unlikely, but if SBF has a lawyer smart enough to convince a jury that he doesn’t get enough jail time to find procedural defects or prove that what he was charged with was accidental. »
“Travel aficionado. Incurable bacon specialist. Tv evangelist. Wannabe internet enthusiast. Typical creator.”