Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the now defunct cryptocurrency firm FTX, has been accused of authorizing a bribe of “at least $40m” in order to gain access to frozen trading accounts.
These allegations were unveiled in the US in addition to the fraud case filed against Bankman-Fried last year after FTX’s collapse. Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to the claims, but is currently under house arrest at his parents’ home in California while awaiting trial.
The indictment alleges that Bankman-Fried authorised the bribe after Chinese authorities froze accounts holding roughly $1bn worth of cryptocurrency that belonged to his trading firm, Alameda Research.
The accounts were released after the transfer, which went to a private cryptocurrency wallet, according to the filing. Bankman-Fried allegedly used the bribe to get Chinese authorities to unfreeze $1bn worth of cryptocurrency that belonged to his trading firm, Alameda Research.
The Bankman-Fried family has been struggling for months to access their frozen funds. This all started when Bankman-Fried attempted to withdraw money from her account at FTX, a trading firm that has recently filed for bankruptcy. It’s unclear why the funds were frozen, but Bankman-Fried is convinced that it’s part of some larger investigation.
In the aftermath of the collapse, Bankman-Fried was hit with criminal charges from the US government. They accused him of improperly using customer deposits at FTX to fund his other firm, Alameda Research, as well as buying property and making millions in political donations. This sordid episode cast a dark cloud over the crypto industry, which was already suffering from big falls in the values of Bitcoin and other assets.
Bankman-Fried was one of the most high-profile figures in the crypto sector, leading an exchange with more than 1 million users. However, the collapse of FTX and the subsequent charges against him led to a sharp fall from grace. His reputation in tatters, Bankman-Fried is now fighting to clear his name and restore his reputation.
Bankman-Fried has acknowledged lapses in management but denied fraud. Three of his closest colleagues have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with investigators. If convicted, Bankman-Fried faces more than 100 years in prison, and the company he built may crumble.