Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried Expected to Plead Not Guilty to China Bribery Charges

Indicted FTX crypto exchange founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) is reportedly expected to plead not guilty this Thursday to the latest US criminal charges. These new charges include allegedy conspiring to violate campaign finance guidelines and even attempting to bribe Chinese officials.

As first reported by Reuters, Bankman-Fried previously pleaded not guilty to eight different counts of engaging in fraudulent activities and conspiracy in pilfering billions of dollars worth of FTX client funds. This was allegedly done in an attempt to cover up substantial losses at his hedge fund, Alameda Research.

An individual familiar with the matter revealed to Reuters that he now intends to plead not guilty to the 13-count indictment.

The latest charges against SBF add to the mounting pressure on the former FTX CEO, who currently faces a potential sentence of several decades behind bars if he gets convicted at a trial scheduled in October of this year.

He was apprehended back in December 2022, following a large number of customer withdrawals that led to concerns about commingling of customer funds between the exchange and Alameda. This eventually led to the spectacular collapse of FTX.

The indictment by the US Attorney’s office in Manhattan included details regarding the alleged scheme. In a post-arrest update, SBF admitted that he failed to ensure proper risk management at FTX, however, he also maintained that he did not intentionally steal any money.

Last month, prosecutors submitted another 12-count indictment which provided further details on the fraud charges and accused SBF of making illicit contributions to US political campaigns via so-called straw donors, which is believed to be part of a strategy to gain influence in Washington.

This past Tuesday, prosecutors had moved to unseal yet another indictment, which alleged that SBF had been conspiring to break anti-bribery laws by facilitating a $40 million payment to Chinese officials in order to regain access to $1 billion in virtual currency in Alameda accounts that were frozen by authorities.

Ex- members of SBF’s closest circle of associates – including ex- Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, ex- FTX CTO Zixao “Gary” Wang, and ex- FTX engineering director Nishad Singh – have pleaded guilty and have also decided to cooperate with the prosecuting team.

At present, Bankman-Fried is on house arrest at his parents’ home in California and also on a $250 million bond awaiting an upcoming trial.

Recently, US District Judge Lewis Kaplan decided to approve certain modifications to SBF’s bail terms that are meant to stop the defendant from trying to tamper with witnesses.

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