FTX CEO Used $100 Million Of Customers Funds For Politics, US Prosecutors Allege

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New criminal charges keep unfolding against former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried in his court case with the US prosecutors. In the latest development, the federal prosecutors filed a new indictment against the former billionaire on Monday, August 14. The filing alleged that Bankman-Fried stole more than $100 million in customers’ funds to fund political campaigns.

In addition, the prosecutors have also charged the FTX founder with seven counts of conspiracy and fraud through the new indictment.

Bankman-Fried Charged With Violating US Campaign Finance Law

Apart from these charges, Sam Bankman-Fried faces multiple counts of fraud, fraud conspiracy, money laundering, and wire fraud, leading to the FTX implosion. The prosecutors also charged him with stealing billions in customers’ funds to cover up Alameda Research’s balance sheet deficit.

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However, the 31-year-old pleaded not guilty to the charges. Even his spokesperson, Mark Botnick, refused to comment.

Bankman-Fried led the once-booming cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, commanding billions of dollars. He leveraged the 2021 crypto bull run to amass an estimated net worth of $26 million.

However, FTX collapsed in November 2022 after an overwhelming customer withdrawal for fear of blending FTX funds with Alameda. These issues tarnished Bankman-Fried’s reputation and obliterated his wealth.

Before then, Bankman-Fried became influential for his generous political donations, predominantly to the Democrats, to the tune of over $100 million, according to prosecutors.

Meanwhile, the August 14 indictment alleged that Bankman-Fried asked other FTX executives to donate to evade political contribution limits. This move was part of his strategy for a more crypto-friendly regulatory environment.

The US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan said in the indictment that “He leveraged this influence, in turn, to lobby Congress and regulatory agencies to support legislation and regulation he believed would make it easier for FTX to continue to accept customer deposits and grow.”

FTTUSD price chart
FTX’s token FTT price currently hovers at $1.130 in the daily chart. | Source: FTTUSD price chart from TradingView.com

US District Judge Kaplan Jails Bankman-Fried For Tampering Witness

The indictment did not name the two FTX executives who helped SBF in the straw donations. But previous court papers and data from Federal Elections Commission stated the officials’ names as Nishad Singh and Ryan Salame.

Meanwhile, in February, Singh, a former FTX engineering chief, pleaded guilty to campaign finance law violations and fraud. Singh had donated $9.7 million to Democratic electoral candidates and he admitted in court that he knew the funds belonged to FTX customers.

Also, according to election data, Salame, a former co-CEO of FTX’s Bahamian unit, donated over $24 million to Republican candidates during the 2022 election cycle. But the prosecutors have not charged Salame with any crime. However, in a separate filing on Monday, they mentioned Salame. 

The prosecutors said his lawyer told them Salame would apply his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if invited to witness. 

Initially, the prosecutors charged SBF with US campaign finance laws violation but dropped the charges in July. Then last week, they clarified the issue in a letter to US Judge Lewis Kaplan and the prosecutors said they would clarify that Bankam-Fried’s original campaign finance law violation charges remain.

Ahead of his October 2 trial, Judge Kaplan jailed Bankman-Fried after finding him guilty of tampering witness twice.

Featured image from Pixabay and chart from TradingView.com

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