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Sam Bankman-Fried Bribed Chinese Officials to Unfreeze Alameda Funds, Prosecutors Allege

2 mins
Updated by Ryan James

In Brief

  • U.S. prosecutors have charged Sam Bankman-Fried with bribing Chinese officials to release accounts belonging to Alameda Research.
  • The new charges come as lawyers for Sam Bankman-Fried agree to tighten the former CEO's bail agreement by restricting his use of technology.
  • FTX reportedly offered FTT and Serum tokens to executives of crypto lender Genesis before the tokens were issued to the public.
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U.S. prosecutors have accused former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried of bribing Chinese officials to unfreeze accounts linked with FTX-affiliated hedge fund Alameda Research.

According to a renewed indictment, Bankman-Fried took several measures to release the funds, including appointing attorneys to help unfreeze the accounts. He also used the name of persons unrelated to FTX to bypass restrictions by Chinese officials.

Sam Bankman-Fried’s Lawyers Negotiate Revised Bail Conditions

After these methods didn’t work, Bankman-Fried allegedly instructed one Alameda employee to send bribe payment instructions to other employees. Court filings reveal the bribe payment to be at least $40 million.

Prosecutors filing the bribery charges against SBF were criticized by public interest organization Inner City Press for not amending Bankman-Fried’s bail release conditions.

Bankman-Fried is out on a $250 million recognizance bond after pleading not guilty to eight criminal charges. These charges include money laundering, wire fraud, and the violation of campaign finance laws. Prosecutors later filed a superseding indictment with four additional charges that Bankman-Fried has not yet pleaded guilty or not guilty to. The bribery charge increases the total number of charges to 13.

Bankman-Fried’s lawyers recently agreed with prosecutors to allow the former CEO to use a phone and laptop with limited functions while on bail.

His new laptop will incorporate monitoring software that he won’t be able to disable. His new phone will only offer phone call and texting capabilities.

Additionally, Bankman-Fried’s parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, signed an affidavit to prevent Bankman-Fried from accessing other devices in their homes. They also swore not to bring new devices into the house.

If there is reason to believe that Bankman-Fried violated the new agreements, he must submit the new laptop and phone for examination.

Judge Lewis Kaplan must approve these new conditions before they become effective.

U.S. prosecutors had previously expressed concern that Sam Bankman-Fried had tampered with witnesses’ material to the criminal case against him via the encrypted messaging app Signal. The judge also said that Bankman-Fried’s use of a virtual private network to watch the NFL Super Bowl event had suggested that he was taking measures to bypass government scrutiny.

He is set to appear for trial on Oct. 2, 2023.

Genesis Executives Received FTT and Serum Tokens Before Public Issuance

A recent report by the Financial Times revealed that Genesis Global Capital had received a special allocation of FTT and Serum tokens. FTX offered FTT owners trading discounts and VIP status.

Genesis executives reportedly bought the tokens at a discount before FTX offered FTT and Serum to the public in 2019 and 2020.

FTX filed for bankruptcy in November 2022 after a leaked Alameda balance sheet revealed large holdings of FTT. Alameda allegedly pledged FTT as collateral for loans it took out.

The collapsed exchange and affiliate Alameda Research owes Genesis about $226 million. 

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