The decade's most triggering comedy
Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was jailed Friday after a judge revoked his bail for allegedly tampering with witnesses on at least two occasions.
Bankman-Fried, who had been living with his parents after being placed under house arrest, jeopardized his upcoming trial by leaking writings and love letters from his ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison to a New York Times reporter, according to prosecutors. U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan agreed with the prosecutors and said there was probable cause to believe the crypto founder tried to “tamper with witnesses” at least twice since his arrest in December, The New York Post reported.
The FTX founder’s defense attorney Mark Cohen said he will appeal the decision and asked for an immediate stay pending the appeal’s result, but the request was rejected by Judge Kaplan. Bankman-Fried’s defense team argued that prosecutors are using “innuendo, speculation, and scant facts” to push for Bankman-Fried’s jailing. The former billionaire will be held at the Manhattan Detention Complex until his trial begins on October 2.
Ellison, who pleaded guilty to fraud for her role in the crypto empire, is expected to be a witness in Bankman-Fried’s upcoming trial. Bankman-Fried’s former girlfriend ran Alameda Research, a crypto hedge fund started by the disgraced FTX founder to which he loaned half of FTX customer’s funds in a move prohibited by the company’s terms of service. In a report last month, The New York Times published some of Ellison’s private writings where she revealed she was “feeling pretty unhappy and overwhelmed with [her] job” and expressed frustrations with her on-and-off relationship with Bankman-Fried.
Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty in January to eight charges, which include conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He was hit with four additional charges the next month, including conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transfer business.
The indictment unsealed in February said that some of Bankman-Fried’s political contributions were “made in the names of others in order to obscure the true source of the money and evade federal election law.” Bankman-Fried donated nearly $40 million primarily to Democrat 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 March, the Justice Department charged the entrepreneur for allegedly bribing members of the Chinese Communist Party with millions of dollars. According to the DOJ indictment, Bankman-Fried “authorized and directed a bribe of at least $40 million to one or more Chinese government officials.”