FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried still slapped with campaign finance charge, prosecutors say

Prosecutors had dropped the charged last month on a technicality.

August 8, 2023, 3:27 PM

Federal prosecutors in New York on Tuesday signaled their intention to hold embattled crypto executive Sam Bankman-Fried accountable for alleged campaign finance violations despite dropping the charge last month on a technicality.

Bankman-Fried, the former founder and CEO of cryptocurrency FTX, was slapped with a host of charges last year focused on an alleged multi-billion dollar fraud against company investors, which could land him in prison for decades.

Among those allegations, the charges included campaign finance violations accusing Bankman-Fried of seeking influence in Washington and in state capitals by improperly using customer and investor money to make political donations.

The campaign finance charge was dropped after officials in the Bahamas, where Bankman-Fried was arrested, said they had not agreed to extradite him based on that count.

In a letter to the judge on Tuesday, however, prosecutors said they intend to file a superseding indictment next week that will seek to incorporate Bankman-Fried's alleged campaign finance scheme into seven other existing charges.

"The superseding indictment will make clear that Mr. Bankman-Fried remains charged with conducting an illegal campaign finance scheme as part of the fraud and money laundering schemes originally charged," the letter said.

"The defendant's use of customer deposits to conduct a political influence campaign was part of the wire fraud scheme charged in the original indictment. And as part of the originally charged money laundering scheme, the defendant also concealed the source of his fraudulent proceeds through political straw donations," the letter added.

In response to an inquiry from ABC News, Bankman-Fried's attorneys Mark Cohen and Christian Everdell declined to comment.

Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to all charges he faces, including defrauding customers and lenders of FTX. The trial is scheduled for October.

PHOTO: FILE - Indicted FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried leaves the United States Courthouse in New York City, July 26, 2023.
Indicted FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried leaves the United States Courthouse in New York City, July 26, 2023.
Amr Alfiky/Reuters, FILE

Bankman-Fried stepped down from his role at FTX in November 2022 amid a rapid collapse that ended with the company declaring bankruptcy. Prosecutors charged Bankman-Fried the following month with an array of alleged crimes centered on a scheme to defraud investors.

Soon after, Bankman-Fried agreed to waive his right to deny extradition to the U.S., clearing the way for his trial in U.S. court. Since then, Bankman-Fried has stood under house arrest at his parents' Palo Alto, California, home as he awaits trial.

Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to 13 charges, including fraud, conspiracy and bribery, after federal prosecutors said he misappropriated billions of dollars from FTX before it went bankrupt.

Prosecutors allege he used the money to cover losses at his hedge fund, Alameda Research, to buy lavish real estate and to make political donations.

Bankman-Fried, in an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos in November, denied knowing "there was any improper use of customer funds."

"I really deeply wish that I had taken like a lot more responsibility for understanding what the details were of what was going on there," Bankman-Fried told Stephanopoulos. "A lot of people got hurt, and that's on me."

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