Key Points :
- FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried paid out tens of millions of dollars in bribes to at least one Chinese government official, federal prosecutors alleged in a new indictment.
- The indictment says accounts belonging to Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund, Alameda Research, were the target of a freezing order from Chinese police “in or around” November 2021.
- It also alleges Bankman-Fried and others “directed and caused the transfer” of at least $40 million in cryptocurrency “intended for the benefit of one or more Chinese government officials in order to influence and induce them” to unfreeze some of the accounts.
Federal prosecutors said in a new indictment on Tuesday that FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried sent at least one Chinese government official bribes totaling tens of millions of dollars.
According to the accusation, Chinese police ordered the suspension of accounts connected to Bankman-hedge Fried’s fund, Alameda Research, “in or around” November 2021.
According to the indictment, Bankman-Fried and other defendants “ordered and caused the transfer” of at least $40 million in cryptocurrencies “intended for the benefit of one or more Chinese government officials” in order to “influence and compel them” to unfreeze some of these accounts.
Prosecutors said that Bankman-Fried and his friends thought about and tried “various strategies” to unlock the accounts, which held about $1 billion worth of cryptocurrencies. Bankman-Fried allegedly agreed to and oversaw a multimillion dollar bribe in order to unlock the frozen accounts after all other attempts—both legal and personal—had failed.
The government claims that Bankman-hedge Fried’s fund continued its deception against customers and investors for an additional year by using the unfrozen assets to fund Alameda’s loss-producing transactions. In November 2022, FTX and Alameda collapsed as a result of a veritable bank run sparked by worries over their balance sheets. In addition to being charged civilly by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, Bankman-Fried is currently the subject of a federal indictment.
The charges, which come one day after U.S. regulators accused cryptocurrency exchange Binance of breaking derivatives laws and supporting terrorist funding, show that the federal government has new information concerning Bankman-overseas Fried’s dealings.
Bankman-bankrupt Fried’s FTX is still being litigated in a Delaware bankruptcy court.
When CNBC asked a representative of Bankman-Fried for comment, they did not get back to them right away.