DOJ will not pursue campaign finance charge against FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried

Billionaires

US-CHINA-CRYPTO-FRAUD-BRIBERY-FTX

Former FTX chief Sam Bankman-Fried leaves the Federal Courthouse following a bail hearing ahead of his October trial, in New York City.

AFP via Getty Images

Key Takeaways
  • The campaign finance violation charge was among eight counts present in the DOJ’s original indictment—which also includes wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering—in December.
  • In a filing late Wednesday addressed to New York federal judge Lewis Kaplan, the DOJ said they had been informed that Bahamas “did not intend to extradite the defendant on the campaign contributions count.”
  • In adherence with the government’s “treaty obligations” to the Bahamas, the DOJ informed Kaplan it “does not intend to proceed to trial on the campaign contributions count.”
  • The filing was made hours after Kaplan issued a gag order against the former crypto billionaire, after prosecutors accused him of leaking former girlfriend and business partner Caroline Ellison’s personal writings to the New York Times.
News Peg

This is not the first instance where the terms of Bankman-Fried’s extradition treaty have impacted the charges brought against him. Last month, the DOJ informed Kaplan it was prepared to try Bankman-Fried on eight counts brought against the FTX founder in its original indictment in December last year—temporarily forgoing the five additional charges that were filed earlier this year. Under the terms of Bankman-Fried’s extradition, any additional charges brought against him would need to be approved by the Bahamian government.

A court in the Bahamas has blocked the country’s government from approving the five additional charges—which include bank fraud, operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business, and bribery—until his attorneys have a chance to fight them.

Key Background

In May, Bankman-Fried’s attorneys asked the court to dismiss most criminal charges brought against him by federal prosecutors, arguing that they were “dramatic” and turned “civil and regulatory issues into federal crimes.”

The FTX founder’s lawyers also blamed the company’s dramatic collapse on the “crypto winter” of 2022. FTX, which was once valued at $32 billion, collapsed in November last year after facing a liquidity crisis triggered by a selloff of its own FTT tokens. Late last month, Kaplan denied Bankman-Fried’s request to dismiss the charges, saying they “are either moot or without merit.”

This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.

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