FTX founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (aka SBF) pleaded not guilty to five additional criminal charges this morning, according CNBC. Prosecutors accuse the disgraced crypto executive of fraud and corruption for conspiring to send at least $40 million to Chinese government officials to unlock more than $1 billion in cryptocurrency, that he allegedly used to finance loss-generating transactions.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) unsealed the third round of criminal charges against SBF in a superseding indictment; SBF has now pleaded not guilty to all 13 counts. Moreover, he faces civil lawsuits the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). His attorney, Mark Cohen, said he would file a motion that SBF cannot stand trial on charges brought after his extradition from the Bahamas in December.
Federal prosecutors allege that SBF and its partners tried “numerous” legal and personal methods to release the funds before moving forward with the bribe. They say SBF asked Alameda Research, FTX’s sister company, to transfer over $40 million to a private wallet. Of course, it is illegal for US citizens to bribe foreign officials to generate business. The new charges increase the pressure on Bankman-Fried, 31, who is said to have “arrived at the courthouse about an hour before the hearing, looking disheveled after an intense media scrum”.
Three former FTX executives, Caroline Ellison, Zixiao “Gary” Wang and Nishad Singh, pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges and agreed to cooperate with the prosecution. There is no word yet on the judge’s decision on whether SBF will be forced to use a feature phone and limiting internet access as part of his bail conditions. After it was revealed that SBF was using a virtual private network (VPN) and possibly tampering with witnesses, District Judge Lewis Kaplan previously said he didn’t want SBF “to get loose on his backyard.” electronic appliances”.