Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of FTX may soon see changes in his bail conditions


18th March 2023 – (New York) Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, may soon see changes to his bail conditions. According to a letter filed in Manhattan federal court on Friday, lawyers for Bankman-Fried and US prosecutors are close to reaching an agreement on revised bail conditions. Christian Everdell, Bankman-Fried’s lawyer, stated that both sides expect to propose new restrictions next week.

Bankman-Fried, who faces trial on 2nd October, has been indicted on charges of stealing billions of dollars in FTX customer funds to cover losses at his Alameda Research hedge fund. He also stands accused of making illegal political donations to gain influence in Washington.

The bail talks were prompted by concerns raised by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan during a 10th March hearing. Kaplan expressed worries that Bankman-Fried’s electronic communications with others may have exceeded the limits of his US$250 million bail package. Any modifications to Bankman-Fried’s bail require the judge’s approval.

Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to eight counts and has not yet been arraigned on four others. He is currently under house arrest with his parents in Palo Alto, California.

At the 10th March hearing, prosecutors and defence lawyers proposed giving Bankman-Fried a flip phone with no internet capability and a basic laptop with limited functions. However, Judge Kaplan deemed this too generous and expressed concerns that Bankman-Fried could “find a way around” the restrictions without being caught.

In the letter filed on Friday, Everdell requested permission for Bankman-Fried to use a laptop to access some FTX materials. The laptop would lack monitoring software or restrict internet access, but a lawyer or paralegal would oversee Bankman-Fried’s use and take the laptop away when he was finished.

The prosecution had previously raised concerns over witness tampering in January after Bankman-Fried attempted to contact John Ray, who became FTX’s chief executive when the company filed for bankruptcy in November 2021, as well as an in-house lawyer. Bankman-Fried’s lawyers argue that he was trying to help, not interfere.