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FTX founder Bankman-Fried charged with paying $40 million bribe to China

FTX founder charged with directing USD 40 mn in bribes to one or more Chinese officials to unfreeze assets relating to his cryptocurrency business in a newly rewritten indictment unsealed on Tuesday

Sam Bankman-Fried

Sam Bankman-Fried

AP New York

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FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was charged with directing USD 40 million in bribes to one or more Chinese officials to unfreeze assets relating to his cryptocurrency business in a newly rewritten indictment unsealed on Tuesday.
The charge of conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act raises to 13 the number of charges Bankman-Fried faces after he was arrested in the Bahamas in December and brought to the United States soon afterward.
FTX filed for bankruptcy on November 11, when it ran out of money after the cryptocurrency equivalent of a bank run. He has remained free on a USD 250 million personal recognisance bond that lets him stay with his parents in Palo Alto, California.
He has pleaded not guilty to charges that he cheated investors out of billions of dollars before his business collapsed.
The alleged bribes stemmed from the operation of Alameda Research, which is affiliated with FTX, Bankman-Fried's global cryptocurrency exchange.
The indictment said Chinese law enforcement authorities in early 2021 froze certain Alameda cryptocurrency trading accounts on two of China's largest cryptocurrency exchanges. The accounts, it said, contained about USD 1 billion in cryptocurrency.
Bankman-Fried understood that the accounts had been frozen by Chinese authorities as part of an ongoing probe of a particular Alameda trading counterparty, the indictment said.
After Bankman-Fried failed several attempts to unfreeze the accounts through the use of lawyers and lobbying, Bankman-Fried ultimately agreed to direct a multi-million dollar bribe to try to unfreeze the accounts, the indictment said.
The bribe payment of cryptocurrency then worth about USD 40 million was moved from Alameda's main trading account to a private cryptocurrency wallet in November 2021 and the frozen accounts were unfrozen at about the same time, the indictment said.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, Bankman-Fried's lawyers also sent Judge Lewis A. Kaplan a new to limit him to a laptop and a phone and block him from using any other cellphones, tablets, computers, video games or smart devices with internet access other than electronic devices owned by his lawyers that he might need to prepare for trial.
Kaplan set a Thursday hearing in the case.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mar 28 2023 | 10:42 PM IST

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