The founder of the bankrupt FTX cryptocurrency exchange, Sam Bankman-Fried, who is suspected of fraud, has received another charge. New York prosecutors now accuse him of bribing Chinese government officials.
Bankman-Fried is suspected of committing fraud at FTX by funneling client funds into the Alameda Research investment fund. FTX and Alameda Research went bankrupt last year, after which the founder was arrested in the Bahamas.
US prosecutors now allege that in 2021 Bankman-Fried bribed Chinese officials to release Alameda accounts they had previously frozen. The founder of FTX had ordered the equivalent of $40 million to be paid to one or more Chinese government employees. In doing so, he would have violated the US Foreign Corruption Act.
According to prosecutors, Bankman-Fried and his accomplices made several failed bribery attempts to regain access to those accounts. Eventually, at Bankman-Fried’s behest, the cryptocurrency moved from Alameda’s main account into a private digital currency account. Shortly thereafter, the frozen accounts were released.
Bankman-Fried has previously denied being guilty of funneling customer funds to FTX. But three former business partners have pleaded guilty and are now cooperating with justice in the United States. Bankman Fried is also suspected of violating rules on political campaign finance.
The former FTX boss is out on bail. The conditions for this became more stringent. For example, from now on it may only work with an air-conditioned laptop on which Internet access is limited. Only a number of pre-approved websites can be accessed. A technical advisor monitors Bankman-Fried’s surfing behavior. There is also always a guard at its door who watches visitors for the electronics they take with them.
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