The former CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, has been remanded to jail after U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan revoked his bail. The decision comes ahead of his October fraud trial, following allegations of witness tampering and violations of his bond terms.
The decision to revoke Bankman-Fried’s bail came after the U.S. Department of Justice accused him of violating the terms of his bond, including allegations of witness tampering. The founder of FTX was accused of reaching out to former FTX.US general counsel Ryne Miller and using a virtual private network to watch the Super Bowl. The last straw was his sharing part of former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison’s private diary with the New York Times.
Bankman-Fried’s legal troubles began last year when he was arrested and placed on a $250 billion bond, co-signed by his parents and close friends. He was confined to his parents’ home in Palo Alto, California, under house arrest. However, his actions, including leaking the private diary of his former colleague and ex-girlfriend, Caroline Ellison, led prosecutors to ask the judge to detain him.
The judge’s decision to revoke bail was not taken lightly. Judge Kaplan noted that he didn’t believe a gag order would be sufficient and expressed concerns about the possibility of Bankman-Fried being detained at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. He even acknowledged that the former CEO might have access to a laptop while detained.
Bankman-Fried’s trial is scheduled for October 2, and he faces over 100 years in prison if convicted of charges including fraud. The allegations revolve around the use of billions of customer assets to make failed investments, leading to FTX’s bankruptcy in November of the previous year.
The case has drawn significant attention, not only for its high-profile defendant but also for the legal arguments surrounding his right to speak to the press. Some, including the New York Times and Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe, have come to his defense, arguing that Bankman-Fried was within his rights to speak to the media about the case.
Three former members of Bankman-Fried’s inner circle, including Ellison, have pleaded guilty to fraud and agreed to cooperate with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan. Ellison’s personal feelings and professional challenges were revealed in the leaked documents, adding a layer of complexity to the case.