New York, Aug 11 (EFE).- Sam Bankman-Fried was taken into custody here Friday after the United States federal judge hearing the case against him over the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX revoked his bail for attempted witness-tampering.
US District Judge Lewis Kaplan denied defense counsel’s motion to allow SBF, as the FTX founder is known, to remain free pending their appeal of the bail revocation.
Two agents of the US Marshals Service put SBF, 31, in handcuffs and escorted him out of the federal court in Manhattan. He is to remain behind bars until his trial begins Oct. 2.
“There is probable cause to believe that the defendant has attempted to tamper with witnesses at least twice,” Kaplan said during Friday’s hearing.
Prosecutors filed a request for bail revocation last month after SBF shared with The New York Times personal writings of Caroline Ellison, his former girlfriend and the erstwhile CEO of FTX-linked hedge fund Alameda Research.
Ellison, like FTX co-founder Gary Wang, pleaded guilty to fraud charges last December and is cooperating with law enforcement.
Kaplan had previously imposed limits on SBF’s communications, barring him from talking to current or former employees of FTX or Alameda Research without the presence of prosecutors and his own attorneys.
The judge also prohibited the defendant from using Signal or other messaging apps that employ encryption.
FTX, which had a putative value of $32 billion at its peak, filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 11, 2022, and the firm’s collapse cost clients an estimated $8 billion in losses.
SBF was extradited to the US from the Bahamas on Dec. 21, 2022, and Kaplan allowed him to remain free on a bond of $250 million, albeit under the “strict supervision” of mother Barbara Fried and father Joseph Bankman – both Stanford University law professors – at the couple’s home in Palo Alto, California.
Bankman-Fried could face 115 years in prison if convicted on all eight counts pertaining to offenses including securities fraud, money laundering and violating campaign finance laws.