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Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been accused of using over a hundred million stolen dollars to conduct “a wide-ranging political influence operation,” according to a court filing from federal prosecutors on Monday.
FTX, a digital asset exchange, collapsed earlier this year and filed for bankruptcy after users learned that the company was intertwined with sister firm Alameda Research. Both were controlled by Bankman-Fried and other young business leaders working from a luxury penthouse in the Bahamas.
“Exploiting the trust of FTX customers, BANKMAN-FRIED misappropriated and embezzled FTX customer deposits, and used billions of dollars in stolen funds for a variety of purposes, including, among other things, to enrich himself; to support the operations of FTX; to fund speculative venture investments; to help fund over a hundred million dollars in campaign contributions to Democrats and Republicans to seek to influence cryptocurrency regulation; and to pay for Alameda’s operating costs,” a superseding indictment filed by the Department of Justice said.
Bankman-Fried donated nearly $40 million primarily to Democratic nominees and political action committees ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. He was also the second-largest donor to the 2020 Biden presidential campaign and was granted four meetings at the White House with senior advisers in the months before his companies filed for bankruptcy.
In the new filing, the DOJ accuses Bankman-Fried of conspiring with others to make false and fraudulent statements to FTX investors and Alameda’s lenders. He faces charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit commodities fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The DOJ decided to not to put forth campaign finance charges against Bankman-Fried after the DOJ learned that the U.S. hadn’t obtained permission from the Bahamas to extradite Bankman-Fried on that charge.
According to the superseding indictment, Bankman-Fried also used customer funds for “exorbitant spending” that had nothing to do with the operation of FTX. This spending allegedly included his personal expenses, real estate in the Bahamas, “speculative venture investments,” political spending, and payments to Alameda’s lenders.
Federal prosecutors said that he used FTX customer funds to “make billions of dollars of investments for his own interests and the interests of his businesses.”
The new court filing comes after Bankman-Fried was jailed Friday after a judge revoked his bail for allegedly tampering with witnesses on at least two occasions. He had been living with his parents after being placed under house arrest, but prosecutors said that he jeopardized his upcoming trial by leaking writings and love letters from his ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison to a New York Times reporter.
Zach Jewell contributed to this report.