Court Battles

DOJ requests Bankman-Fried’s bail conditions be revised over possible witness tampering

Cryptocurrency entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried leaves Manhattan federal court on bail ,Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022 in New York. Bankman-Fried is accused of swindling investors and looting customer deposits on his FTX trading platform. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

The Department of Justice (DOJ) requested that the court revise FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s bail conditions on Friday, amid concerns about possible witness tampering.

Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, asked that the judge bar Bankman-Fried from contacting current or former employees from his now defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX and hedge fund Alameda Research, as well as block him from using encrypted or ephemeral messaging platforms like Signal.

The new request comes after Bankman-Fried reportedly contacted an individual who has “firsthand knowledge” of his actions during the collapse of the crypto exchange in November and may serve as a government witness at trial.

“I would love to reconnect and see if there’s a way for us to have a constructive relationship, use each other as resources when possible, or at least vet things with each other,” Bankman-Fried said in a message to the individual on Jan. 15, both via email and Signal.

Williams argued that the message is “suggestive of an effort to influence” the witness’s potential testimony and could constitute witness tampering.

“Were the defendant to ‘vet’ his version of relevant events with potential witnesses, that might have the effect of discouraging witnesses from testifying in a manner contrary to the defendant’s narrative,” Williams noted.

Bankman-Fried has reportedly also contacted other current and former FTX employees, according to Williams.

The attorney also asked the court to bar Bankman-Fried from using encrypted or ephemeral call and messaging platforms to “prevent obstruction of justice,” pointing to the FTX founder’s previous use of automatic deletion functions on Slack and Signal.

Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas in December on a variety of charges, including wire fraud, securities fraud, money laundering and campaign finance violations. Prosecutors have accused the 30-year-old of allegedly developing a scheme to defraud FTX customers and investors.

Tags Alameda Research cryptocurrency Damian Williams Department of Justice encrypted messaging FTX FTX collapse Sam Bankman-Fried signal Southern District of New York

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video