Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), co-founder and former CEO of crypto exchange FTX, has been charged with 13 counts by the United States authorities.
It is worth noting that initially, Bankman-Fried was charged with eight counts, including wire fraud, campaign finance violations, and money laundering. However, more than six months until the scheduled trial, the list of criminal charges continues to grow.
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As per the legal documents filed by US attorney Damian Williams, SBF has been accused of offering a $40 million bribe to a Chinese government official.
Section 105 of the court filing explains that Bankman-Fried, in collaboration with associated parties, “directed and caused the transfer of at least approximately $40 million in cryptocurrency intended for the benefit of one or more Chinese government officials.”
This transaction was allegedly aimed at convincing Chinese officials to unlock crypto accounts with over $1 billion in crypto owned by FTX-related crypto trading firm Alameda Research.
In early 2021, Chinese law enforcement authorities seized several Alameda Research accounts on “two of China’s largest crypto exchanges.” It is believed that SBF was aware of the situation and attempted to regain access to the accounts through various methods, such as transferring crypto to fake accounts to bypass China’s freeze orders.
Regarding the matter, the new legal documents read:
After months of failed attempts to unfreeze the accounts, Samuel Bankman-Fried discussed with others and ultimately agreed to and directed a multi-million-dollar bribe to seek to unfreeze the accounts.
US authorities claim that after Alameda Research accounts were eventually unfrozen, the company used funds to cover the company’s trading activity.
As the legal proceedings continue, the crypto world awaits further details and developments in this high-profile case.
It is worth noting that Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested in December by the Royal Bahamas Police Force. The same month, the FTX mastermind was extradited to the United States and released on bail after his parents secured a jaw-dropping bond of $250M with equity in their home.
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