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Sam Bankman-Fried Pleads Not Guilty to Bribery as 3AC Founder Given Ultimatum

3 mins
Updated by Ryan Boltman
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In Brief

  • Sam Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to bribing Chinese officials to unlock Alameda trading accounts.
  • His lawyer said they would fight charges filed after Bankman-Fried was extradited from the U.S.
  • A U.S. Bankruptcy court has given Three Arrows Capital co-founder Kyle Davies two weeks to respond to a Jan. 2023 subpoena.
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Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to bribery and campaign finance law violations as a U.S. bankruptcy court orders Three Arrows Capital founder Kyle Davies to respond to a subpoena in two weeks.

Bankman-Fried’s lawyer Mark Cohen pleaded not guilty to bribery and campaign finance charges on behalf of the former FTX boss at a hearing before Judge Lewis Kaplan.

Sam Bankman-Fried Pleads Not Guilty Again

Cohen said he would fight the charges because they were filed after Bankman-Fried was deported from the Bahamas.

Prosecutors filed a superseding indictment against Bankman-Fried in February 2023, adding four charges to the eight filed in Dec. 2022. Yesterday, reports surfaced of a revised indictment including a new charge of bribing Chinese officials to access frozen trading accounts linked to Bankman-Fried’s market-making firm Alameda Research. 

Accordingly, Sam Bankman-Fried has now pleaded not guilty to thirteen criminal counts, blaming the collapse of the exchange he led on poor risk management.

Out on a $250 million recognizance bond, he awaits his Oct. 2, 2023, trial at his parents’ Palo Alto home.

FTX filed for bankruptcy in Nov. 2022 after it lacked the liquidity to honor customer withdrawals. At the same time, Sam Bankman-Fried stepped down, handing the leadership reins to bankruptcy expert John Ray.

Crypto Execs Fail to Deliver on Big Promises

The crypto collapses of 2022 have seen many executives of failed companies make magnanimous statements about making customers whole. However, many of those claims have failed to materialize, leaving creditors wondering when they would receive the funds they held on a crypto platform.

Sam Bankman-Fried said the firm could have made customers whole within a month instead of filing for bankruptcy. He later claimed that FTX’s U.S. arm had enough funds to make customers whole. This claim was contrary to FTX’s bankruptcy lawyers Sullivan & Cromwell’s findings. Ray later refuted the claims at a Congressional hearing and has been trying to recover money from several sources.

Recent reports revealed that FTX lawyers had secured about $400 million from a little-known Bahamian hedge fund that Sam Bankman-Fried invested in.

A co-founder of defunct Singaporean hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, Su Zhu, recently launched a new exchange to trade bankruptcy claims. Liquidators appointed to oversee the hedge fund’s liquidation complained in Feb. 2023 that Zhu and co-founder Kyle Davies had failed to cooperate. The lack of cooperation belies Zhu’s earlier commitment to resolving insolvency issues at the exchange.

The silence has also delayed the reimbursement of creditors, the liquidators argued, and was a neglect of Davies’ fiduciary duties.

Today, a U.S. bankruptcy court gave Davies two weeks to respond to the subpoena it served him in Jan. 2023. The subpoena demands the hedge fund’s financial records, amongst other things.

Despite Do Kwon’s Promises, TerraUSD Holders Still Await Funds

After the collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin in May 2022, Do Kwon, the co-founder of TerraUSD issuer Terraform Labs promised the community that he would work together to make holders whole.

Much like Davies and Zhu, who remained active on Twitter after 3AC’s collapse, Kwon used the platform mainly to discuss new developments on Terra instead of making TerraUSD holders whole.

His last tweet on the matter came on Nov. 16, 2022, where he described an audit of the Luna Foundation Guard, which tried to keep TerraUSD’s value at $1.

LFG tweeted on Oct. 7, 2022, that it could offer no timeline for when investors in TerraUSD and its sister coin LUNA could be made whole.

Kwon is currently in Montenegro, where he faces charges of passport fraud. Both the U.S. and South Korea have requested the founder’s extradition. Kown must face trial for his crime in Montenegro before prosecutors can consider execution, unlike Sam Bankman-Fried who agreed to a voluntary deportation from the Bahamas last year.

For Be[In]Crypto’s latest Bitcoin (BTC) analysis, click here.

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David Thomas
David Thomas graduated from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in Durban, South Africa, with an Honors degree in electronic engineering. He worked as an engineer for eight years, developing software for industrial processes at South African automation specialist Autotronix (Pty) Ltd., mining control systems for AngloGold Ashanti, and consumer products at Inhep Digital Security, a domestic security company wholly owned by Swedish conglomerate Assa Abloy. He has experience writing software in C,...