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FTX Founder Bankman-Fried Accused of Bribing Chinese Officials

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried faces new bribery charges, as U.S. prosecutors allege he conspired to bribe Chinese officials with $40 million in payments.

Sam Bankman-Fried
Sam Bankman-Fried

Indictment Alleges $40M Bribe to Chinese Government

U.S. prosecutors announced a new indictment against Sam Bankman-Fried on Tuesday, accusing the FTX cryptocurrency exchange founder of conspiring to bribe Chinese government officials with $40 million in payments. FTX is now bankrupt.

Alameda Research Accounts Unfrozen After Bribe Payment

The federal prosecutors in Manhattan charged Bankman-Fried with directing the payment to unfreeze accounts belonging to his hedge fund, Alameda Research. Chinese authorities had frozen these accounts, which held over $1 billion of cryptocurrency.

Timeline of Bribery Scheme and Account Transfers

As per the new indictment, the accounts were unfrozen after the bribe payment was transferred in November 2021 from Alameda's main trading account to a private cryptocurrency wallet. Following the unfreezing, Bankman-Fried authorized additional transfers of tens of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency to complete the bribe.

Increased Pressure on Former Billionaire Bankman-Fried

This new charge adds pressure to the 31-year-old former billionaire, who had pleaded not guilty to eight counts related to FTX's collapse. Prosecutors claim Bankman-Fried stole billions of dollars in customer funds to cover Alameda's losses. Bankman-Fried's lawyers have not yet commented on the matter.

Illegal Campaign Donation Scheme and FCPA Violation

Last month, prosecutors unveiled four new counts against Bankman-Fried, accusing him of orchestrating an illegal campaign donation scheme to buy influence in Washington, D.C. The latest count accuses him of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which prohibits U.S. citizens from bribing foreign government officials for business purposes.

Upcoming Court Hearing for Bankman-Fried

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan has scheduled a court hearing for Thursday after prosecutors requested Bankman-Fried be arraigned on the new 13-count indictment.