The initial indictment by the US Attorney’s office in Manhattan contained few details about the alleged scheme. In an unusual post-arrest blog post, the former billionaire acknowledged inadequate risk management at FTX, but said he did not steal funds.
Prosecutors in late February filed a new 12-count indictment elaborating on the fraud charges and accusing Bankman-Fried of illicitly contributing tens of millions of dollars to US political campaigns through straw donors, part of a strategy to buy influence in Washington.
And on Tuesday, prosecutors moved to unseal yet another indictment, which accused Bankman-Fried of conspiring to violate an anti-bribery law by orchestrating a US$40 million payment to Chinese authorities to regain access to US$1 billion in cryptocurrency in Alameda accounts that had been frozen.
Three former members of Bankman-Fried’s inner circle – former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, former FTX technology chief Zixao “Gary” Wang, and former FTX engineering director Nishad Singh – have all pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
Bankman-Fried is confined to his parents’ Palo Alto, California, home on a US$250 million bond pending trial. Earlier this week, US District Judge Lewis Kaplan approved modifications to Bankman-Fried’s bail package that are designed to prevent the defendant from tampering with witnesses.