FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried indicted on new criminal charges

New York (CNN) Federal prosecutors have announced four new criminal charges against Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of crypto trading platform FTX, expanding his potential liability in what authorities say is a billion-dollar fraud.

Bankman-Fried was charged in December on an eight-count charge. An indictment was unsealed on Thursday with new charges totaling 12 counts, including conspiracy to operate an unlicensed cash-in-transit company, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and securities fraud.

Bankman-Fried, who was released on $250 million bail, previously pleaded not guilty to charges announced in December, including a charge of conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws. At the time, he was charged with multiple counts of conspiracy and wire fraud and conspiracy to violate U.S. campaign finance laws by making political donations through straw donors.

The FTX founder has made more than 300 illegal political contributions through straw donors totaling tens of millions of dollars paid by Alameda and FTX funds, according to a recently unsealed indictment.

Despite personally becoming one of the largest publicly reported political donors for the 2022 midterm elections, SBF fraudulently made pre-midterm donations in the names of two FTC executives to increase its clout, the court said.

Bankman-Fried devised a strategy of making political donations across the political spectrum because he didn’t want to come across as a leftist partisan or have his name publicly associated with Republican candidates, the indictment says, so he would make certain contributions in the name of his executives that he thought fit the bill better.

SBF wanted to keep Republican contributions “murky,” according to the indictment, so those donations were made through an FTX executive identified only as CC-2 in the indictment, who publicly aligned himself with conservatives.

Bankman-Fried conspired to contribute “at least a million dollars” to a super-PAC that supported a candidate running for a U.S. congressional seat who appeared to have ties to pro-LGBTQ issues, according to the charge.

That contribution was made on behalf of another FTX executive because “there was no one to trust at FTX [who was] bi/gay “in a position to make the contribution,” the new indictment says.

Despite the employee’s discomfort with the situation, a political consultant who worked for SBF told the executive, identified in the indictment as CC-1, “in general, being the center-left face of our spending means that gives you a lot of money for transactional purposes.”

In another instance, shortly before the 2022 midterm elections, an FTX employee was instructed to transfer $107,000 from Bankman-Fried’s account to the New York State Democratic Committee through that FTX executive.

The executive ultimately nominally became one of the largest Democratic donors in the 2022 midterm elections, advancing Bankman-Fried’s agenda with donations the executives would not have made of their own accord, the filing said.

In November 2022, before impending indictment, that executive expressed concern to SBF in chat messages about “maybe 80 million” in “donations/personal/etc.” Which went in his name through his bank account. The two discussed plans to hide the wire transfers on the company’s books, but ultimately never executed the transactions that would have further concealed the campaign’s funding plan, the indictment said.

SBF planned the political contribution arrangement with co-conspirators in an auto-delete message chat called “donation processing,” the suit says.

The donations were made with money from Alameda bank accounts, including funds from FTX customers, which were then transferred to the personal accounts of the straw donors who made the contributions. The outgoing transfers were hidden in internal company records as expenses or loans to those executives.

No other co-conspirators are charged in the new indictment unsealed Thursday.

It is not yet clear when SBF will face charges on the four new charges in the 12-count indictment.






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