Crime & Justice

Bankman-Fried pleads not guilty to additional charges

New York, Mar 30 (EFE).- Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange, pleaded not guilty Thursday to five additional charges filed in connection with the company’s collapse, which left clients with an estimated $8 billion in losses.

The Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York unsealed Tuesday a second superseding indictment in the case against the 31-year-old erstwhile billionaire.

The latest charges center on the allegation that Bankman-Fried, known as SBF, approved a multimillion bribe to one or more Chinese officials to induce them to unfreeze trading accounts belonging to FTX-linked hedge fund Alameda Research that contained roughly $1 billion worth of cryptocurrency.

SBF now faces 13 charges for offenses including securities fraud, money laundering and making illegal political contributions to both Democrats and Republicans.

Extradited to the US from the Bahamas last December, he remains free on a bond of $250 million, albeit under the “strict supervision” of mother Barbara Fried and father Joseph Bankman – both Stanford Law professors – at the couple’s home in Palo Alto, California.

The defendant did not speak at Thursday’s hearing in a US federal court in Manhattan.

Besides entering a not-guilty plea on SBF’s behalf, his attorney, Mark Cohen, said that he will file a motion disputing prosecutors’ right to try his client on charges brought subsequent to his extradition.

FTX, which had a putative value of $32 billion at its peak, filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 11, 2022, and the new, court-appointed CEO, John Ray, has characterized the situation at the firm as a “complete failure of corporate control.”

Three of SBF’s associates, FTX co-founder Gary Wang, Alameda Research head Caroline Ellison, and FTX former chief engineer Nishad Singh, have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with investigators.

SBF’s trial is set to begin in October. EFE jfu/dr

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