Founder of FTX Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested for witness tampering

Sam Bankman-Fried, the man behind the defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX, had his bail revoked on Friday, and his fraud trial is set to begin on October 2.

The court who handed down Bankman-Fried’s sentence found that he had sought to sway witnesses in the case against him for his role in the fall of FTX last November.

Bankman-Fried was brought to the Metropolitan Detention Centre after appearing in court in New York. Prior to December 2022, when he posted a US$250 million bond and was allowed to live with his parents in California, he was under house arrest.

U.S. prosecutors requested Bankman-Fried’s bail be revoked and an order to imprison the defendant be issued in a court file dated July 28. The document said that Bankman-Fried had sought to influence at least two witnesses in his case.

The judge found on Friday that Bankman-Fried probably tampered with witnesses by telling them to “back off” and “hedge their cooperation” with the government.

When reaching his judgement, Kaplan said, “He (Bankman-Fried) has already gone up to the queue over and over again without violating any other bail condition except that he not commit another crime.”

Prosecutors called Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend and the former CEO of FTX’s subsidiary company, Alameda Research, Caroline Ellison, as witnesses.

Bankman-Fried is accused of leaking Ellison’s private journals to a New York Times writer in an effort to “portray Ms. Ellison in an unfavourable light,” as Kaplan put it.

The bail judgement will be appealed, according to Bankman-Fried’s legal team. They filed a request with the court asking for a stay of execution on Bankman-Fried’s imprisonment until the outcome of the appeal. But Kaplan shot it down.

In December 2022, Bankman-Fried was apprehended in the Bahamas on allegations of fraud totalling several billions of dollars in connection with the collapse of the FTX exchange. He has pled not guilty to all counts and insists he is innocent.

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