On Friday, U.S. prosecutors petitioned a Manhattan magistrate for stricter bail restrictions for Sam Bankman-Fried, the creator of the FTX crypto exchange, citing their fears that he could try to influence witness testimony or tamper with testaments in the criminal proceeding.
Sam Bankman-Fried Bans to Influence Witnesses and Evidence
Prosecutors requested District Judge Lewis Kaplan to prohibit Bankman-Fried from speaking with a former or current staff of FTX or the Alameda Research investment firm, apart from family, without an attorney present. They cited Bankman-recent Fried’s attempts to reach possible witnesses. They also requested that Bankman-Fried refrain from using Signal and similar encrypted calling and messaging services. However, he was permitted to continue using regular means of contact such as texting, emailing, and calling.
Following pleading not guilty to stealing millions of dollars out from collapsed FTX, 30-year-old Bankman-Fried has already been released on a 250 million USD bail. He is currently ordered to lodge with his family. Bankman-Fried’s legal team did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Prosecutors mention a Signal communication sent by Bankman-Fried to Witness-one, the legal director of the FTX exchange U.S. branch, on January 15. Bankman-Fried said they wanted to work together or at least discuss their concerns and ideas.
According to the prosecutors, this is especially troubling considering Bankman-Fried realized the counsel possessed possibly hazardous information. This is because Bankman-Fried engaged in discussions immediately before FTX’s fall in November. While Bankman-Fried proposed utilizing Alameda money to meet FTX user withdrawals. The prosecutors stated that this was extremely worrying.
Prosecutors Show Concerns over Bankman-Fried Beneficial Connections with Staff Members
According to the prosecution, the accused’s desire to vet matters with each other and the call for a beneficial connection both imply that Witness-one should side with the accused in order to influence their evidence. Prosecutors stated that even though the accused has not actively tried to interfere with witnesses. However, simply interacting with them could cause them to feel unsafe stepping forward or confessing.
Prosecutors claimed that Bankman-Fried, to keep him off using Signal, had ordered that a large number of messages sent over Signal & Slack be wiped within 1 month in 2021. Former Alameda head Caroline Ellison pled guilty. He is also collaborating with authorities, claimed Bankman-Fried. They suggested it may be more difficult to develop court cases if the material were not saved.