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Sam Bankman-Fried to be released on $250 million bail and will be required to stay with parents ahead of FTX trial


  • Sam Bankman-Fried was granted release on $250 million bail at a court hearing Thursday.
  • Prosecutors allege he siphoned money from a cryptocurrency exchange he ran.
  • Two of his top associates, Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang, pleaded guilty and are cooperating with prosecutors.

Sam Bankman-Fried will be released from custody on $250 million bail, a federal judge ruled Thursday in SBF’s first court hearing on American soil.

He will be required to surrender his passport and stay with his parents in their home in California ahead of a federal trial on a list of charges tied to the failure of FTX.

US Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein ordered federal agents to place an ankle monitor on Bankman-Fried before he leaves the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan, where Gorenstein oversaw the bail hearing.

Under New York law, defendants in criminal cases are not responsible for the full bond amount unless they attempt to flee ahead of trial or otherwise violate bail conditions. Bankman-Fried’s parents will be required to secure a lien against their home, in Palo Alto, California, in order to secure the bond, and several other unknown “responsible” individuals are required to post funds as well, Gorenstein said at the hearing Thursday.

The FTX founder was arrested on December 13 in the Bahamas, where his company is headquartered, as federal prosecutors in Manhattan unsealed an eight-count criminal complaint against him.

He was marched into the courtroom on Thursday by a US Marshal shortly after 1 p.m., wearing a gray suit over a white dress shirt, with ankle restraints clanking, and sat hunched over the defense table during much of the hearing.

Attorneys for Bankman-Fried said at the hearing that they approved of the bail package, which Assistant US Attorney Nicholas Roos described as the “largest-ever” pretrial bond.

Bankman-Fried will be required to attend a court hearing in California at 10 a.m. Friday, Gorenstein ruled. Another court hearing is scheduled for January 3 in Manhattan, where Bankman-Fried is expected to enter a plea.

An attorney for Bankman-Fried did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment after the bail was approved. Bankman-Fried’s parents, Barbara Fried and Joseph Bankman, and brother, Gabriel Bankman-Fried, sat in the courtroom gallery throughout the hearing. Bankman-Fried’s mother hung her head as Gorenstein read through the criminal charges, and hugged his father once the hearing ended.

SBF agreed to extradition, weighing in favor of the bail conditions

Bankman-Fried was flown to New York on Wednesday night after a Bahamian magistrate judge, who denied him bail on charges there, signed off on the extradition to the US.

As Bankman-Fried arrived in the US, Damien Williams, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that two of Bankman-Fried’s associates, Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang, pleaded guilty to fraud charges stemming from the FTX scandal and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Prosecutors allege Bankman-Fried “orchestrated a years-long fraud” to hide from investors that he diverted funds from the FTX cryptocurrency exchange to Alameda Research, a hedge fund he also controlled.

Criminal allegations against Ellison and Wang, first filed on December 19, were unsealed in court on Thursday morning ahead of Bankman-Fried’s court appearance.

Newly filed court documents in parallel civil proceedings from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission allege that Ellison manipulated the price of FTT, an in-house token used by FTX, thus inflating the valuation of Alameda Research, the trading firm she led, and misleading investors.

According to the civil filings, Wang created software to help divert FTX customer funds to Alameda, which Ellison misappropriated for Alameda’s trading activity. The filings allege that Ellison and Wang were aware that Bankman-Fried’s public statements about FTX’s financial condition, risk management, and disentanglement from Alameda were “false and misleading.”

sam bankman fried sbf court drawing illustration

An artist rendering of Sam Bankman-Fried sitting with his attorneys Mark Cohen and Christian Everdell at his arraignment hearing in Manhattan federal court Thursday.

REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg



At the bail hearing Thursday, Roos said evidence to be presented at trial against Bankman-Fried would include “multiple cooperating witnesses,” dozens of FTX employees, and tens of thousands of pages of company documents.

But, Roos said, Bankman-Fried presented a low risk of flight since he voluntarily consented to extradition from the Bahamas, and because he has strong family ties in the US.

Mark Cohen, one of Bankman-Fried’s attorneys, pointed out to the judge that extradition would have taken months “or even years” in the Bahamas if he had challenged them, and that his client wanted to face the criminal charges in US court.

“He wants to address them,” Cohen said.

Gorenstein said that Bankman-Fried’s infamy, combined with a lack of violent history, weighed in favor of the bail conditions.

It was unlikely, he said, that anyone would enter into new business agreements with him. Gorenstein also forbade Bankman-Fried from starting new businesses or opening any new financial accounts.

“I don’t think there’s any concern of safety or any additional crimes,” Gorenstein said. “The defendant has achieved significant notoriety.”

In addition to ordering an ankle monitor, Gorenstein said Bankman-Fried would only be permitted to leave his parents’ home in Palo Alto, California, for court appearances and, with the permission of pretrial services, for exercise.



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