Sam Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty to five additional counts related to the collapse of his former crypto exchange FTX and hedge fund Alameda Research in federal court in New York on Thursday.
Bankman-Fried’s attorney, Mark Cohen, said he plans to file a motion that his client not be tried on all charges, arguing that he will not stand trial on charges brought after his extradition could be asked.
The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York unveiled its third round of criminal charges against the disgraced former CEO of FTX in a substitute indictment unsealed on Tuesday. The focus this time was the alleged bribery of a foreign government by Bankman Fried.
Prosecutors allege that Bankman-Fried – who arrived at the courthouse about an hour before the hearing and looked disheveled after an intense media frenzy – had ordered the payment of at least $40 million in cryptocurrency to one or more Chinese government officials to stop the trade re-freezing accounts linked to his crypto hedge fund Alameda Research.
Bankman-Fried and his associates considered and tried “numerous methods” to release the accounts, which contained around $1 billion worth of cryptocurrencies, according to prosecutors. Ultimately, after both legal and personal efforts failed, Bankman-Fried agreed and initiated a multimillion-dollar bribe to unlock the frozen accounts, according to prosecutors.
The Bankman-Fried hedge fund then allegedly used the unfrozen assets to continue funding Alameda’s loss-making operations, continuing what the government described as cheating customers and investors for another year.
The former crypto billionaire, who did not speak throughout the hearing, also pleaded not guilty to charges related to bank fraud, money laundering, operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business, and unlawful political donations in the U.S. Details of hundreds of political donations, the Bankman -Fried allegedly conducted campaign finance in violation of federal laws. Bankman-Fried has already pleaded not guilty to eight other counts.
FTX and Alameda imploded in November after worries about their balance sheets turned into an outright bank run. In addition to these federal charges, Bankman-Fried is also facing civil charges from both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Meanwhile, FTX remains mired in bankruptcy proceedings in Delaware.
Bankman-Fried’s trial is scheduled to begin in October.
— CNBC’s Dawn Giel contributed to this report.
Source : www.cnbc.com