Sam Bankman-Fried, Ex-founder of the now-closed FTX cryptocurrency exchange, had his bail revoked by a New York federal judge. The judge accused him of trying to influence witnesses set to testify against him in his upcoming trial for fraud charges related to FTX’s collapse.
Since his arrest in December over FTX’s downfall, Bankman-Fried was on house arrest at his parents’ home in California. However, the judge ended this arrangement due to claims by prosecutors that he attempted to interfere with witnesses, including sharing documents with journalists.
Judge Kaplan stated, “He repeatedly pushed the boundaries, so I’m revoking bail.” Bankman-Fried had posted $250 million bail after being brought back from The Bahamas, where he was initially held.
The situation was complicated when Bankman-Fried contacted an ex-FTX General Counsel and watched the Super Bowl against legal advice using a VPN. Sharing a diary with the press heightened concerns, leading to the consideration of bail revocation by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Despite Bankman-Fried’s lawyer’s intention to appeal, Judge Kaplan sent him to jail before the appeal’s conclusion. Prosecutors alleged he provided documents to The Times to intimidate a witness before the trial.
During the legal proceedings, Judge Kaplan briefly restrained Bankman-Fried and associates from media interactions. His legal team argued that sharing documents with The Times was a response to media inquiries and didn’t breach bail conditions.
The status of the media order after Bankman-Fried’s arrest remained unclear. Judge Kaplan emphasized that speech wouldn’t be protected if it aimed to commit a crime. He saw Bankman-Fried’s media involvement and contact with a former FTX employee as efforts to “intimidate or influence” witnesses.
This courtroom episode was another setback for Bankman-Fried after FTX’s collapse. The cryptocurrency exchange went bankrupt after a surge in deposit withdrawals last fall, following its earlier success in the virtual currency market.
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