With this, the total charges on 31-year-old FTX founder now rose to 13.
Sam Bankman-Fried, aka SBF, the founder of now bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, was charged for paying $40 million in bribe to one or more Chinese officials. The U.S. prosecutors unsealed the new indictment on Tuesday and said SBF directed the funds in exchange for unfreezing his crypto assets.
With this, the total charges on 31-year-old crypto entrepreneur now rose to 13. SBF will likely be arraigned on Thursday on the new bribery charge before U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan federal court, where he intends to plead not guilty, according to a Reuters report.
According to the new bribery conspiracy indictment, SBF directed a crypto payment of $40 million to a private wallet from the main account of Alameda, FTX’s associated trading firm. This was made to convince the Chinese law enforcement authorities to unfreeze Alameda accounts with more than $1 billion of cryptocurrency that they froze in early 2021.
SBF’s move to direct a multi-million-dollar bribe came after several failed attempts to unfreeze the accounts via lawyers and lobbying, according to media reports that cited the indictment. There has been no official comment from the Chinese officials yet.
To give the background, the founder of the collapsed FTX cryptocurrency exchange was arrested in the Bahamas last year on accusations that he orchestrated fraud by misusing FTX’s investors’ money. SBF was later brought to the U.S. where he is now confined to his parents’ home in Palo Alto, California until his next scheduled trial on October 2.
Furthermore, SBF is accused of squandering billions on a crypto hedge fund Alameda Research, a crypto fund that was also founded by Bankman-Fried. Some other charges on SBF include wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, securities fraud, securities fraud conspiracy, and money laundering.
In the high-profile drama, Bankman-Fried is alleged to have diverted FTX customer funds to Alameda, thus, making undisclosed venture investments, luxury real estate purchases, and political donations. On November 11, the crypto exchange filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States.