Sam Bankman-Fried faces seven total counts of conspiracy and fraud over FTX’s stunning collapse last year, accused of stealing customer money to plug losses at his crypto-centric hedge fund Alameda Research.
Tuesday 15 August 2023 11:25, UK
Disgraced crypto entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried used stolen customer money to make political donations, prosecutors have alleged.
The 31-year-old, whose £21bn FTX empire collapsed last year, is accused of making north of $100bn (£79bn) in campaign contributions during the 2022 US midterms.
He is said to have directed two of his company’s executives to send cash to both Democrats and Republicans to evade contribution limits and conceal where the funds had come from.
Federal prosecutors alleged that it came from FTX customers, from whom billions of dollars were stolen during his dramatic ascent to becoming a billionaire „crypto king”.
An amended indictment filed in New York on Monday said he used the „influence” he accrued with politicians via donations to lobby for „legislation and regulation he believed would make it easier” for his firm to keep accepting customer deposits and continue to grow.
The executives Bankman-Fried allegedly directed to make the donations were not named in the indictment, but Reuters reported them being named in other court documents as Nishad Singh and Ryan Salame.
Singh, FTX’s former engineering chief, pleaded guilty to fraud and campaign finance violations in February. He has admitted donating $9.7m (£7.6m) to Democrat candidates, knowing the money came from FTX customers.
Salame, who was in FTX’s Bahamas unit, has not been charged. He gave more than $24m (£19m) to Republican candidates, according to Federal Election Commission data.
The rise and fall of Sam Bankman-Fried
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Trial date set for Bankman-Fried
Bankman-Fried faces seven total counts of conspiracy and fraud, accused of stealing customer money to plug losses at his crypto-centric hedge fund Alameda Research.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Following his extradition from the Bahamas, where FTX was based, in December, Bankman-Fried was put under house arrest at his parents’ home in California.
But a judge sent him to jail last week for alleged witness tampering.
His trial is set to begin on 2 October.