Sam Bankman-Fried was charged with witness tampering and sent to prison


New York
CNN

A federal judge has revoked bail for FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried, citing probable cause that the accused crypto fraudster tried to tamper with witnesses.

Bankman-Fried has been remanded, at least temporarily, to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn while the parties sort out details of how she will review discovery materials ahead of a trial scheduled for October.

Following the verdict, U.S. Marshals led Bankman-Fried out of the courtroom in handcuffs.

Jane Rosenberg/Reuters

Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, is arrested in court in New York on August 11, 2023 after his lawyers failed to persuade a judge not to jail him ahead of trial. In this courtroom painting.

Bankman-Fried’s attorneys immediately filed a notice of appeal Friday.

Prosecutors sought to subvert the surveillance, using a virtual private network to contact potential witnesses against Bankman-Fried after what they described as a series of violations. Former FTX executive Caroline Ellison talks to a reporter.

Jane Rosenberg/Reuters

Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, is seen in this courtroom sketch on Aug. 11, 2023, at a court in New York, U.S., during his trial as a U.S. judge revoked his bail.

Ellison, Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend, is one of several former business partners who have taken a plea deal and plan to testify against him.

Judge Kaplan on Friday sided with prosecutors’ claim that Bankman-Fried was “covering her tracks” when she allegedly leaked Ellison’s personal documents to the New York Times. Kaplan said that leaking an ex-girlfriend’s private writings is done only to “hurt, humiliate and intimidate the subject.”

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Bankman-Fried’s lawyers argued that she had a right to defend her reputation in the press. They also stressed that the complexity of his defense, which included hundreds of thousands of documents, required Bankman-Fried to have regular access to computers and the Internet.

Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Sam Bankman-Fried arrives in federal court in Manhattan on Friday.

Her attorneys also agreed to a gag order restricting Bankman-Fried’s contact with people outside the case. But given Bankman-Fried’s history, Kaplan said Friday, a cake order might not be enough.

Bankman-Fried, 31, has pleaded not guilty to multiple conspiracy and fraud charges. His trial date is set for October.

Since his arrest in December, he has repeatedly defied standard legal advice when speaking to the media. He blogged, tweeted and appeared in live interviews to broadcast his version of FTX’s downfall. In what he says, he admits he made mistakes as CEO, but says he never knowingly committed fraud.

Lawyers are considered the brainchild of Bankman-Fried Massive financial scams in American history. He was accused of stealing deposits from his cryptocurrency exchange FTX to fund risky bets at his crypto hedge fund Alameda Research; funnel contributions to US politicians; and book a lavish lifestyle for himself and his staff in the Bahamas.

Before its downfall, FTX was one of the world’s largest crypto-trading platforms, endorsed by A-list celebrities and featured in Super Bowl commercials. But last November, concerns about the bank’s financial ties to crypto hedge fund Alameda Research prompted investors and clients to pull their funds. The company went bankrupt and soon became the focus of a federal fraud investigation.

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—CNN’s Cara Scannell contributed to this article.

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