Founder and former CEO of bankrupt FTX exchange, Sam Bankman-Fried, will again plead not guilty to recent charges brought against him by US prosecutors, which include unlawful political donations and alleged bribery of Chinese officials.
He is scheduled to stand trial for various criminal charges in October.
Bankman-Fried to Plead Not Guilty to 13-Count Charges
According to Reuters on Thursday (March 30, 2023), an anonymous source said that Sam Bankman-Fried is planning to enter a not-guilty plea to 13 new criminal charges, including bribing Chinese government officials and violating campaign finance laws.
In February 2023, a superseding indictment alleged that Bankman-Fried conspired with two FTX executives to make more than 300 political donations worth tens of millions of dollars, which crossed the limit for individual campaign contributions. According to the indictment, illegal donations were done using straw donors or corporate funds.
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) later slammed another lawsuit against SBF in March, claiming that the former billionaire bribed Chinese government officials with $40 million to unfreeze Alameda Research’s accounts. The accounts, which were frozen around November 2021, held over $1 billion in crypto, according to the DoJ.
Alameda Money Reportedly Used to Fund SBF Legal Fees
While three close associates of Bankman-Fried — Caroline Ellison, Gary Wang, and Nishad Singh — have all pleaded guilty to charges relating to fraud and are cooperating with US prosecutors, the FTX founder has done the opposite. In January, SBF pleaded not guilty to allegations including wire fraud, money laundering, and misappropriation of customer funds for personal use.
After Bankman-Fried’s crypto exchange collapsed in November 2022, the founder was arrested in December by Bahamian authorities and was later extradited to the United States. He was released on a $250 million bail, which was signed by his parents and two Stanford University academics, Dr. Andreas Paepcke and Larry Kramer.
Meanwhile, SBF’s trial date is set for October 2, 2023, but there are reports that his attorneys are saying that the date may be shifted, as the lawyers need more time to review the evidence and prepare a defense.
Also, recent reports stated that Bankman-Fried is paying his legal fees with the money previously gifted to his father, Joseph Bankman, which came from funds borrowed from Alameda.