Crime & Justice

FTX founder charged with fraud, money laundering

(Update 1: Adds detail throughout, releads)

New York, US, Dec 13 (EFE).- The co-founder and former CEO of the defunct cryptocurrency exchange giant FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, has been hit with a raft of charges including allegations of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

According to the unsealed indictment published by a southern New York District Court on Tuesday, the United States government leveled eight charges against the 30-year-old that also spanned wire fraud on customers, wire fraud on lenders, conspiracy to commit commodities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud.

SBF, as Bankman-Fried is also known, is accused of defrauding FTX customers by misappropriating their deposits to pay off debts and expenses of Alameda Research, his crypto hedge fund, and to invest in cryptocurrencies.

The first charge accuses SBF of covertly diverting customer funds for his own benefit.

Another of the charges unveiled on Tuesday had a political element to it as it accused SBF of conspiring to defraud the US and to violate campaign funding laws.

The charges brought by the US government follow others filed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which accused him of “orchestrating a massive, years-long fraud, diverting billions of dollars of the trading platform’s customer funds for his own personal benefit and to grow his crypto empire.”

SBF was arrested Monday in the Bahamas, where he headquartered FTX, and is awaiting extradition to the US following his indictment.

FTX filed for bankruptcy on November 11 this year in a dizzying fall from grace.

The new CEO of FTX, bankruptcy expert John Ray, said in a stinging court filing later that month that a “substantial portion” of the assets held by FTX may be missing or stolen.

“Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here,” he added.

Founded in 2019, FTX exploded onto the cryptocurrency scene and ballooned to a peak value of some $32 billion with over a million users worldwide. Now in embers, the company has acknowledged some $3 billion of debt owed to 50 main creditors. EFE


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